Image_1_Alteration of Methanogenic Archaeon by Ethanol Contribute to the Enhancement of Biogenic Methane Production of Lignite.TIFF

Bioconverting coal to methane is a green and environmental friendly method to reuse waste coal. In this study, heterologous bacteria were used for the gas-producing fermentation of lignite under laboratory conditions, simultaneously, different concentrations of ethanol added into the culture to investigate the effect of ethanol on gas production and microbial flora structure. Results show that when the ethanol concentration was 1%, the best methanogenesis was achieved at 44.86 mL/g, which was twice the gas production of 0% ethanol. Before and after gas fermentation, the composition and structure of the coal changed, the volatile matter and fixed carbon increased, and the ash decreased. The absorbance value at characteristic peaks of all functional groups decreased, new peaks were generated at 2,300/cm, and the peak value disappeared at 3,375/cm. Thus, microorganisms interacted with coal, consumed it, and produced new materials. The microbial flora changes during gas production were tracked in real time. 0.5 and 1% ethanol did not obviously change the bacterial communities but strongly influenced the archaeon communities, thereby changed the methane production pathway. In the absence of ethanol, Methanosarcina was continuously increasing with the extension of fermentation time, this pathway was the nutrient type of acetic acid. When ethanol was added, Methanobacterium gradually increased, the pathway was mainly hydrotropic type. In summary, adding ethanol can increase the coalbed methane production, change the structure and composition of coal, and facilitate the interaction of microbe with coal. Therefore, the methanogenic archaeon changes could help improve the methane-producing ability of lignite in the presence of ethanol.