Coal, the most primitive fossil fuel, has been exploited for ages, and reserves dictate the economies of many countries. Presently, most energy is generated by direct combustion, raising concerns over global warming. Biological pretreatment of fossil resources and generation of alternative green energy can address the environmental issues associated with global coal utilization. Biological coal treatment can produce industrially important chemicals and bio-methane by employing microorganisms able to depolymerize/degrade coal. This review discusses current advances in microbial coal conversion, such as the efforts made to comprehend microbial processes, significant outputs of coal conversion, principle components responsible for coal conversion, and factors affecting the biological processes to convert coal. Development of these biological processes can be a stepping stone for greener coal; however, integration of multidisciplinary technologies is needed to increase the efficiency of economic coal utilization and production of economically and industrially feasible biomethane.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016, Korean Institute of Chemical Engineers, Seoul, Korea.
- Biological Treatment
- Coal Biodegradation
- Coal Depolymerization