Hydrogeochemistry and coal-associated bacterial populations from a methanogenic coal bed

Elliott P. Barnhart, Edwin P. Weeks, Elizabeth J P Jones, Daniel J. Ritter, Jennifer McIntosh, Arthur C. Clark, Leslie F. Ruppert, Alfred B. Cunningham, David S. Vinson, William Orem, Matthew W. Fields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Biogenic coalbed methane (CBM), a microbially-generated source of natural gas trapped within coal beds, is an important energy resource in many countries. Specific bacterial populations and enzymes involved in coal degradation, the potential rate-limiting step of CBM formation, are relatively unknown. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has established a field site, (Birney test site), in an undeveloped area of the Powder River Basin (PRB), with four wells completed in the Flowers-Goodale coal bed, one in the overlying sandstone formation, and four in overlying and underlying coal beds (Knoblach, Nance, and Terret). The nine wells were positioned to characterize the hydraulic conductivity of the Flowers-Goodale coal bed and were selectively cored to investigate the hydrogeochemistry and microbiology associated with CBM production at the Birney test site. Aquifer-test results indicated the Flowers-Goodale coal bed, in a zone from about 112 to 120 m below land surface at the test site, had very low hydraulic conductivity (0.005 m/d) compared to other PRB coal beds examined. Consistent with microbial methanogenesis, groundwater in the coal bed and overlying sandstone contain dissolved methane (46 mg/L average) with low δ13C values (− 67‰ average), high alkalinity values (22 meq/kg average), relatively positive δ13C-DIC values (4‰ average), and no detectable higher chain hydrocarbons, NO3 , or SO4 2 −. Bioassay methane production was greatest at the upper interface of the Flowers-Goodale coal bed near the overlying sandstone. Pyrotag analysis identified Aeribacillus as a dominant in situ bacterial community member in the coal near the sandstone and statistical analysis indicated Actinobacteria predominated coal core samples compared to claystone or sandstone cores. These bacteria, which previously have been correlated with hydrocarbon-containing environments such as oil reservoirs, have demonstrated the ability to produce biosurfactants to break down hydrocarbons. Identifying microorganisms involved in coal degradation and the hydrogeochemical conditions that promote their activity is crucial to understanding and improving in situ CBM production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-26
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
Volume162
DOIs
StatePublished - May 15 2016

Fingerprint

hydrogeochemistry
coal seam
Coal
coal
coalbed methane
sandstone
Sandstone
flower
hydrocarbon
hydraulic conductivity
river basin
methane
Hydrocarbons
Hydraulic conductivity
well
Catchments
degradation
claystone
methanogenesis
Methane

Keywords

  • Biosurfactant
  • Coalbed methane
  • Hydrogeochemistry
  • Hydrology
  • Microbial enhanced CBM (MECoM) technology
  • Powder River Basin
  • Test site

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy

Cite this

Hydrogeochemistry and coal-associated bacterial populations from a methanogenic coal bed. / Barnhart, Elliott P.; Weeks, Edwin P.; Jones, Elizabeth J P; Ritter, Daniel J.; McIntosh, Jennifer; Clark, Arthur C.; Ruppert, Leslie F.; Cunningham, Alfred B.; Vinson, David S.; Orem, William; Fields, Matthew W.

In: International Journal of Coal Geology, Vol. 162, 15.05.2016, p. 14-26.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Barnhart, EP, Weeks, EP, Jones, EJP, Ritter, DJ, McIntosh, J, Clark, AC, Ruppert, LF, Cunningham, AB, Vinson, DS, Orem, W & Fields, MW 2016, 'Hydrogeochemistry and coal-associated bacterial populations from a methanogenic coal bed', International Journal of Coal Geology, vol. 162, pp. 14-26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.coal.2016.05.001
Barnhart, Elliott P. ; Weeks, Edwin P. ; Jones, Elizabeth J P ; Ritter, Daniel J. ; McIntosh, Jennifer ; Clark, Arthur C. ; Ruppert, Leslie F. ; Cunningham, Alfred B. ; Vinson, David S. ; Orem, William ; Fields, Matthew W. / Hydrogeochemistry and coal-associated bacterial populations from a methanogenic coal bed. In: International Journal of Coal Geology. 2016 ; Vol. 162. pp. 14-26.
@article{a02b0683de1d435e84d1ce0addb5f412,
title = "Hydrogeochemistry and coal-associated bacterial populations from a methanogenic coal bed",
abstract = "Biogenic coalbed methane (CBM), a microbially-generated source of natural gas trapped within coal beds, is an important energy resource in many countries. Specific bacterial populations and enzymes involved in coal degradation, the potential rate-limiting step of CBM formation, are relatively unknown. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has established a field site, (Birney test site), in an undeveloped area of the Powder River Basin (PRB), with four wells completed in the Flowers-Goodale coal bed, one in the overlying sandstone formation, and four in overlying and underlying coal beds (Knoblach, Nance, and Terret). The nine wells were positioned to characterize the hydraulic conductivity of the Flowers-Goodale coal bed and were selectively cored to investigate the hydrogeochemistry and microbiology associated with CBM production at the Birney test site. Aquifer-test results indicated the Flowers-Goodale coal bed, in a zone from about 112 to 120 m below land surface at the test site, had very low hydraulic conductivity (0.005 m/d) compared to other PRB coal beds examined. Consistent with microbial methanogenesis, groundwater in the coal bed and overlying sandstone contain dissolved methane (46 mg/L average) with low δ13C values (− 67‰ average), high alkalinity values (22 meq/kg average), relatively positive δ13C-DIC values (4‰ average), and no detectable higher chain hydrocarbons, NO3 − , or SO4 2 −. Bioassay methane production was greatest at the upper interface of the Flowers-Goodale coal bed near the overlying sandstone. Pyrotag analysis identified Aeribacillus as a dominant in situ bacterial community member in the coal near the sandstone and statistical analysis indicated Actinobacteria predominated coal core samples compared to claystone or sandstone cores. These bacteria, which previously have been correlated with hydrocarbon-containing environments such as oil reservoirs, have demonstrated the ability to produce biosurfactants to break down hydrocarbons. Identifying microorganisms involved in coal degradation and the hydrogeochemical conditions that promote their activity is crucial to understanding and improving in situ CBM production.",
keywords = "Biosurfactant, Coalbed methane, Hydrogeochemistry, Hydrology, Microbial enhanced CBM (MECoM) technology, Powder River Basin, Test site",
author = "Barnhart, {Elliott P.} and Weeks, {Edwin P.} and Jones, {Elizabeth J P} and Ritter, {Daniel J.} and Jennifer McIntosh and Clark, {Arthur C.} and Ruppert, {Leslie F.} and Cunningham, {Alfred B.} and Vinson, {David S.} and William Orem and Fields, {Matthew W.}",
year = "2016",
month = "5",
day = "15",
doi = "10.1016/j.coal.2016.05.001",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "162",
pages = "14--26",
journal = "International Journal of Coal Geology",
issn = "0166-5162",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Hydrogeochemistry and coal-associated bacterial populations from a methanogenic coal bed

AU - Barnhart, Elliott P.

AU - Weeks, Edwin P.

AU - Jones, Elizabeth J P

AU - Ritter, Daniel J.

AU - McIntosh, Jennifer

AU - Clark, Arthur C.

AU - Ruppert, Leslie F.

AU - Cunningham, Alfred B.

AU - Vinson, David S.

AU - Orem, William

AU - Fields, Matthew W.

PY - 2016/5/15

Y1 - 2016/5/15

N2 - Biogenic coalbed methane (CBM), a microbially-generated source of natural gas trapped within coal beds, is an important energy resource in many countries. Specific bacterial populations and enzymes involved in coal degradation, the potential rate-limiting step of CBM formation, are relatively unknown. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has established a field site, (Birney test site), in an undeveloped area of the Powder River Basin (PRB), with four wells completed in the Flowers-Goodale coal bed, one in the overlying sandstone formation, and four in overlying and underlying coal beds (Knoblach, Nance, and Terret). The nine wells were positioned to characterize the hydraulic conductivity of the Flowers-Goodale coal bed and were selectively cored to investigate the hydrogeochemistry and microbiology associated with CBM production at the Birney test site. Aquifer-test results indicated the Flowers-Goodale coal bed, in a zone from about 112 to 120 m below land surface at the test site, had very low hydraulic conductivity (0.005 m/d) compared to other PRB coal beds examined. Consistent with microbial methanogenesis, groundwater in the coal bed and overlying sandstone contain dissolved methane (46 mg/L average) with low δ13C values (− 67‰ average), high alkalinity values (22 meq/kg average), relatively positive δ13C-DIC values (4‰ average), and no detectable higher chain hydrocarbons, NO3 − , or SO4 2 −. Bioassay methane production was greatest at the upper interface of the Flowers-Goodale coal bed near the overlying sandstone. Pyrotag analysis identified Aeribacillus as a dominant in situ bacterial community member in the coal near the sandstone and statistical analysis indicated Actinobacteria predominated coal core samples compared to claystone or sandstone cores. These bacteria, which previously have been correlated with hydrocarbon-containing environments such as oil reservoirs, have demonstrated the ability to produce biosurfactants to break down hydrocarbons. Identifying microorganisms involved in coal degradation and the hydrogeochemical conditions that promote their activity is crucial to understanding and improving in situ CBM production.

AB - Biogenic coalbed methane (CBM), a microbially-generated source of natural gas trapped within coal beds, is an important energy resource in many countries. Specific bacterial populations and enzymes involved in coal degradation, the potential rate-limiting step of CBM formation, are relatively unknown. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has established a field site, (Birney test site), in an undeveloped area of the Powder River Basin (PRB), with four wells completed in the Flowers-Goodale coal bed, one in the overlying sandstone formation, and four in overlying and underlying coal beds (Knoblach, Nance, and Terret). The nine wells were positioned to characterize the hydraulic conductivity of the Flowers-Goodale coal bed and were selectively cored to investigate the hydrogeochemistry and microbiology associated with CBM production at the Birney test site. Aquifer-test results indicated the Flowers-Goodale coal bed, in a zone from about 112 to 120 m below land surface at the test site, had very low hydraulic conductivity (0.005 m/d) compared to other PRB coal beds examined. Consistent with microbial methanogenesis, groundwater in the coal bed and overlying sandstone contain dissolved methane (46 mg/L average) with low δ13C values (− 67‰ average), high alkalinity values (22 meq/kg average), relatively positive δ13C-DIC values (4‰ average), and no detectable higher chain hydrocarbons, NO3 − , or SO4 2 −. Bioassay methane production was greatest at the upper interface of the Flowers-Goodale coal bed near the overlying sandstone. Pyrotag analysis identified Aeribacillus as a dominant in situ bacterial community member in the coal near the sandstone and statistical analysis indicated Actinobacteria predominated coal core samples compared to claystone or sandstone cores. These bacteria, which previously have been correlated with hydrocarbon-containing environments such as oil reservoirs, have demonstrated the ability to produce biosurfactants to break down hydrocarbons. Identifying microorganisms involved in coal degradation and the hydrogeochemical conditions that promote their activity is crucial to understanding and improving in situ CBM production.

KW - Biosurfactant

KW - Coalbed methane

KW - Hydrogeochemistry

KW - Hydrology

KW - Microbial enhanced CBM (MECoM) technology

KW - Powder River Basin

KW - Test site

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84976588023&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84976588023&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.coal.2016.05.001

DO - 10.1016/j.coal.2016.05.001

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84976588023

VL - 162

SP - 14

EP - 26

JO - International Journal of Coal Geology

JF - International Journal of Coal Geology

SN - 0166-5162

ER -