prof. dr. ir. Boon Nico
Using bacteria to remove methane from air
There are various techniques to remove methane from the atmosphere, but they are not yet efficient and are thus expensive. We have now discovered that the bacterial communities found around methane are of crucial importance. Some bacteria remove methane but also try to work with other bacteria that cannot remove methane. We can make methane-removing bacteria collaborate with bacteria that have other assets, like the ability to remove polluting substances from ground water. This leads to a win-win situation: methane is removed more efficiently and the bacterial community can be used for water treatment or improving soil quality. Bacteria can also be combined to develop certain resources, like vitamins or pigments, to be used by the pharmaceutical industry, for example. By making a useful product, one can earn back investment costs needed to remove methane.
The technique removes the greenhouse gas methane more efficiently from the air and potentially makes it a usable resource. After carbon dioxide, methane is the most significant greenhouse gas caused by human activity.