Friday, July 20, 2007

Taking the fossil out of fossil fuel

...Over 1.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas were extracted in New York state last year, yet there remains a certain element of mystery about the stuff's origins. Conventional natural gas deposits are thermogenic, meaning they formed under intense heat and pressure hundreds of millions of years ago. McIntosh (pictured at work, below) is looking to see if the gas at this location is "biogenic", created during the past 18,000 years by methane-making microbes, or methanogens.

"In the future we might be able to use large beds of coal and shale as nurseries for biogenic gas," says Warwick.

From New Scientist