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Friday, 14 May 2021 08:34 GMT

Switzerland- Study points to lake methane as energy source of the future


(MENAFN - Swissinfo) Lakes, the source of 20% of global natural methane emissions, could also be the source of much of the world's energy, if treated correctly, Swiss researchers have argued.



This content was published on April 4, 2021 - 18:23 April 4, 2021 - 18:23 Keystone-SDA/dos

In a paper published this week, researchers from Basel and Zurich suggest a way to more efficiently extract the methane which develops naturally as biomass decays in lakes.

Methane, which is 25 times more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide, is mostly produced by the petroleum and agriculture industries. However, a fifth of all methane emissions are produced naturally in lakes. This 'would in theory be enough to cover the entire world's energy needs', said University of Basel scientist Maciej Bartosiewicz.

Bartosiewicz, along with Przemyslaw Rzepka and Moritz Lehmann, claim to have developed a concept – using sieve-like membranes made from porous minerals called zeolites – to extract this gas more efficiently.

Up to now, the only place in the world where methane has been taken from a lake and used to produce electricity has been Lake Kivu, in central Africa. However, that body of water enjoys uniquely large quantities of methane, 100 times more than in normal lakes. Such operations have not yet been profitable elsewhere, the University of Basel said in a press release.

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