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Biogas Energy’s patented technology for stimulating methane production using a crystalline form of a synthetic phenazine has been published in the prestigious Royal Society for Chemistry journal Energy and Environmental Science. Long term research partner the University of New South Wales has made the article open access so it’s free to download from the Energy and Environmental Science website.

The article describes the impacts of neutral red crystals on methane production in coal and food waste fed anaerobic cultures, showing 10 and 18 fold increases in methane output respectively. The crystal structure is revealed and the electrochemical properties of the crystals are characterised.

‘For me the most exciting aspect of the study has been demonstrating how the synthetic phenazine crystals can deliver electrons directly to the heterodisulfide reductase enzyme of methanogenic microbes’ said the senior author of the study Associate Professor Mike Manefield. ‘No one has ever shown how to power up methanogens before.’

The first author of the study, Dr Sabrina Beckmann, recalls observing the striking crystal formation under the microscope for the first time. ‘I couldn’t believe what I was looking at, it looked like microscopic wires had formed spontaneously and then the methane production skyrocketed.’

Biogas Energy Co-Director Glen Cunningham is very pleased with the attention the work has received both from the international scientific community and from the biogas industry at large. ‘It’s the beginning of a change in how we do business’ he said.