Home Energy Methane Energy Could Come from Lakes and Reservoirs

Methane Energy Could Come from Lakes and Reservoirs

by Ahmad
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A thermogenic gas, methane energy is produced by bacteria living in the sediments of the lake. According to recent estimates, approximately 10% to 20% of global methane emissions come from lakes and reservoirs.

As Volta discovered when he burned methane, it is also a fuel. Natural gas is primarily composed of this component. Methane energy in freshwater has recently been discovered in an Environmental Science and Technology study.

Hydropower and reservoirs are often considered climate-friendly. Electricity is not produced by burning fossil fuels. Using a specialized membrane to separate it from water. One author suggests extracting some gas from lake beds. Zeolites would trap the methane energy molecules. They would be pumped to the surface.

Methane Energy

 Methane energy can already be isolated from wastewater using membranes. The development of synthetic zeolites is underway, says Maciej Bartosiewicz. The lead author of the study is a biogeochemist from the Polish Academy of Sciences. His idea is to start small, possibly with mobile devices used in hydroelectric dam reservoirs. The use of green energy should complement other options.

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These questions are under investigation by scientists. Researchers are looking at the amount of methane energy. By dams and reservoirs, hydroelectricity is released into the atmosphere. Approximately 20 percent of human-made methane emissions come from coal. The surface of reservoirs is where it comes from.

The Rwandan government has been pumping methane-rich water from the bottom of Lake Kivu to supply electricity to the region since 2015. The gas levels in that lake, however, are extremely high. Some scientists question the idea of extracting it in other environments.

Currently, methane extraction is not cost-effective at low concentrations. According to David Bastviken, it would require a great deal of energy and material to harvest. An environmental scientist did not conduct this study at Linköping University, Sweden. Additionally, Bastviken is concerned about possible ecological consequences.

If you imagine the amount of methane emitted by cows over an entire year, consider this. An entire year would have resulted in the emissions of approximately 5,800 dairy cows. Climate Central spoke with Amy Townsend-Small of the University of Cincinnati.

Environmental Protection Agency

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, livestock produces more methane than other sources in the U.S. The U.S. ranked crude oil in third place, followed by natural gas. This agency is responsible for the environment. 

However, the EPA does not yet include methane energy emissions from reservoirs placed there by humans. In general, reservoirs and their emissions are poorly understood, which contributes to the problem.

It is reflected in Bartosiewicz’s acknowledgement of possible effects on methane-eating bacteria and the rest of the food chain. In any case, human activities in many ecosystems have already accelerated methane production. In some places, removing some gas could be acceptable. According to him, he plans to investigate possible solutions. An important step is taken.

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A specialized membrane can be used to separate some of the gas from lake bed water. Moreover, thereby allowing it to be extracted. To pump methane energy to the surface, minerals called zeolites can trap gas molecules. Methane can already be isolated from wastewater using membranes. 

Green Energy

Furthermore, zeolites are being synthesized, according to Maciej Bartosiewicz. The project’s lead author is a biogeochemist from the Polish Academy of Sciences. Possibly starting with mobile devices, he plans to start small. To complement other green energy options can be installed in hydroelectric dam reservoirs.

A pump has been installed at Lake Kivu so that its depths are pumped for electricity production. This lake, however, has exceptionally high levels of gas. Because of this, some scientists are sceptical about other means of extraction. 

David Bastviken

Methane energy extraction at lower concentrations is not currently cost-effective. It likely requires a tremendous amount of resources and energy to harvest. The report is authored by David Bastviken, an environmental scientist who was not part of the study. According to Bastviken, ecological consequences could also be problematic.

The author acknowledges these concerns, including the possibility of methane-eating microbes.  The effects may extend to other members of the ecosystem

However, many ecosystems are already producing more methane due to human activities. In certain locations, it may be okay to remove some gas.

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