Japanese researchers aim to use bacteria to help convert carbon dioxide trapped below the ocean into natural gas, reports Yahoo, via AFP.
The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology has been perfecting a method to activate a type of bacteria that exists deep in the earth’s crust, and use it to convert the CO2 into methane, a component of natural gas.
This would be no quick fix, however.
Naturally, the bacteria takes billions of years to turn the CO2 into methane. The researchers aim to shorten the transformation time to about 100 years.
The bacteria would feed off CO2 buried more than 6,000 feet under the ocean bed.
If successful, the effort could turn into a long-term renewable energy source, as one of the current ideas about carbon capture and sequestration involves burying CO2 under the sea bed. In fact, researchers have proposed doing just that off the U.S. East Coast.
Buried volcanic rocks, or basalt along the coasts of New York, New Jersey and New England, and as far south as Georgia and South Carolina, are proposed as ideal reservoirs to store carbon dioxide emitted by power plants and other industrial sources.