Microbes make up the majority of life in the subsurface petroleum reservoirs, and of course carbon sources play a major role in their metabolism. What if we could control what these microbes are eating and what they are producing?
Can we turn the subsurface reservoir into a natural underground refinery? What if this refinery could use CO2 as a carbon feedstock? That’s the vision for Cemvita Energy’s Subsurface Carbon Utilization platform by leveraging the existing legacy, knowledge, and infrastructure for CO2 Sequestration and Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR), Microbial EOR, and biological CO2 Utilization, to offer an innovative solution for production of carbon-negative and renewable oil.
CO2 EOR process is an established industry practice, however within this process CO2 molecules stay intact. The role that CO2 plays is due to its miscibility with oil and to increase the pressure of the reservoir. This project aimed to use CO2 as feedstock for chemical conversion to methane (as a building block to produce larger hydrocarbons compounds) in the reservoir. Same methodology can also be applied to convert the existing CO2 in a natural gas reservoir into methane and avoid the production of CO2 on the surface.
Having shown the success in lab scale, the next step is the field trial.