ClosedEnvironment & Energy

Metagenomics for greener production and extraction of hydrocarbon energy

PROJECT LEAD(S)/CO-LEAD(S) Gerrit Voordouw (University of Calgary) & Julia Foght (University of Alberta)
COMPETITION/ FUNDING OPPORTUNITY Genome Canada - Applied Genomics Research in Bioproducts or Crops - ABC
PROJECT START DATE October 1, 2009
PROJECT END DATE June 30, 2014

Our present society is dependent on hydrocarbon resources. Until technologies exist to deliver a high proportion of our energy from renewable sources, at a reasonable cost, we must ensure that we extract the existing hydrocarbon resources in the most environmentally friendly manner possible. This project will allow Canada to satisfy the growing gap between the supply and demand of petroleum while addressing important environmental concerns such as greenhouse gas emissions. Using state of the art genomics tools and expertise, this project will develop a database that describes and harnesses the genetic potential of the microorganisms, genes and biological processes present in Canada‟s oil sands, oilfields, and coal beds. This project aims to: 1) Improve our understanding of how methane, oil and oil sands are formed and identify ways to optimize their recovery from aging oil reservoirs, oil sands deposits and coal beds, 2) decrease water demand and land lost in oil sands mining operations, 3) manage biogenic methane emissions from oil sands tailings pond, 4) determine bioprocess and bioproducts to reduce the amount of energy required for and greenhouse gases generated from in situ heavy oil and oil sands extraction, 5) craft mechanisms that control the generation of toxic and corrosive hydrogen sulfide, and 6) identify ways to reduce the environmental impact of associated pipeline leaks and failures. The team hopes to develop techniques to harness naturally occurring organisms and bioprocesses to decrease the environmental impact of hydrocarbon extraction.

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