Down on the methane farm

BASF Venture Capital America is investing $3 million in Colorado-based biotechnology company LUCA Technologies to boost BASF’s energy management research.


BASF Venture Capital America is investing $3m in Colorado-based biotechnology company LUCA Technologies to boost BASF’s energy management research.



LUCA develops biotechnology that uses microorganisms to reactivate or intensify the production of methane from finite fuels such as coal or oil.



LUCA employs genomics, molecular biology and other tools of biotechnology to detect, classify and study anaerobic microorganisms that metabolise oil, shale and coal within the earth into natural gas. These methane production sites underground are described as “geobioreactors” by LUCA. The company wants to develop such geobioreactors into mass production methane farms, which will serve growing demand for this form of energy.



LUCA will use proceeds from the financing round to continue its research and development activities in the laboratory, and to support testing of the technology in coal beds either on its own or through partnerships with energy companies.



BASF’s energy management research scientists are already working on new biotechnology materials for organic solar cells, storage media for hydrogen and the membrane electrode assembly of portable fuel cells. The three other growth clusters are raw material change, nanotechnology and plant biotechnology.