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sector_ico_Energy_trans Energy

Metagenomics for Greener Production and Extraction of Hydrocarbon Energy

  • Project Leaders: Gerrit Voordouw, Steve Hallam
  • Institutions: University of Calgary
  • Budget: $1931392
  • Program/Competition: Large Scale Applied Research Programs
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome Canada
  • Status: Closed

This project proposed to characterize whole genomes of bacterial communities that naturally live in environments from which we extract energy, such as oil sands and coal beds.  These organisms cause the natural breakdown of hydrocarbons and could be used in greener energy production. The project has successfully identified key bacterial members in microbial communities and bioprocesses present in oil sands, tailings ponds and coal bed environments that have led to improved design and/or management of these hydrocarbon environments. Further, several novel isolates relevant to greenhouse gas mitigation in tailings ponds have been obtained and their genomes sequenced. The project had expanded from the original proposal to include identification of microbes involved in pipeline corrosion and souring with respect to oil reservoirs. These findings are being utilized by companies like Syncrude, Enerplus and Suncor. Three companies have emerged as a result of work from this Project: MetaMixis, Helios Genomics and Innovative Surfactant Solutions.