A BIOTECHNOLOGICAL APPROACH TO CONVERT METHANE INTO BIO-POLYMERS (7311)
Landfills and coal mines are the two largest CH4 emitting industries in Australia. Considering the global warming potential of CH4 (~ 25 times that of CO2 over a 100 year period), developing a unique technology to mitigate CH4 emissions is critically important to avoid further ozone depletion in this region. The CH4, which is simply wasted or unutilized, could be re-routed for industrial production of bio-polymers via biotechnological approaches. However, it requires vigorous laboratory testing, optimization and robust consortia formulation to work with landfills and coal mine cases, especially the former emit high (max. 60 % CH4) and the later emits very low concentrations (max. 1% CH4) of CH4. In our research, we aim to develop robust consortia, i.e. mixed populations of methanotrophs and cyanobacteria, to effectively re-store CH4 and CO2 as bio-polymers (ex. Polyhydroxyalkanoates - PHA) in an appropriate bio-reactor design. Merits of this project are: the technology can be extended for any CH4 and/or CO2 emitting industries, limit fossil fuel consumption for plastic production, support additional revenue and provide regional employment opportunity. Further, successful implementation allows claiming of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) benefits for carbon capturing in Australia.