If all goes well, the BHU scientists could make a breakthrough in producing a form of fuel (methane) which would be less harmful to the environment
The concerned project ‘Biomethanization of Coal’ has been handed over to the group of scientists by Ministry of Coal, Government of India, through Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI). The scientists who would be primarily working on the project are Dr Asha Lata Singh from department of botany, and Prof Prakash K Singh from Department of Geology, Institute of Science, said public relations officer of Banaras Hindu University Rajesh Singh.
‘Biomethanization of Coal’ in simpler terms means converting coal into methane in its natural form by using certain microbes.
“The work will be tested at the bench scale in the laboratory and if successful, it could produce a form of fuel (methane) which will be less harmful to the environment,” said Singh.
“Biomethanization of Coal is a relatively new concept and hasn’t been explored and researched much. Currently there are only two other locations in the world i.e. United States and China, where such studies are underway in this area. India becomes the third country to have entered this area of research and BHU is the proud institution which has been chosen for the study,” he said.
During the course of the study, an in-situ type of environment would be re-created in the laboratory with the help of anaerobic chamber where anaerobic microbes would be used for the experiment.
“The success of this project would not only open up a new window for future research but would also open new pathways to obtain green energy. A team of senior officers from CMPDI also visited BHU and discussed various aspects of biomethanization with Prof Asha Lata Singh, Prof Prakash K Singh, and their research team. This research team is also working on a DST-SERB project on ‘Desulfurization of sulfur-rich coals using biological and chemical methods’,” stated the PRO.
The new project comes at a time when BHU has been laying greater focus on inter-disciplinary research by way of providing funds and infrastructural support.
Vice-chancellor Prof Sudhir Kumar Jain has reiterated that BHU offers a perfect ecosystem for inter-disciplinary studies and we must work hard to capitalize on it.