Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bioengineered Algae- The Possibility of Cleaner Hydrogen Fuel Production

June 21, 2011 by kcanada  
Filed under Feature, Why Hydrogen

The environmental benefits of using hydrogen as a fuel source in the place of conventional fossil fuels are numerous, but one of the most notable drawbacks has been the energy costs associated with producing hydrogen through the traditional method of splitting water molecules. In addressing this issue, scientists are taking a closer look at the potential of using bioengineered algae to produce large quantities of hydrogen. An article last month in ScienceDaily describes collaborative research activities at the MIT Center for Biomedical Engineering, the Tel Aviv University in Israel, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory that are exploring the natural ability of many species of algae, cyanobacteria, and aquatic microorganisms to use energy from the sun to split molecules of water into hydrogen and oxygen. Until recently, interest in this process as a potential source for hydrogen fuel was low because these microorganisms don’t normally produce significant quantities of hydrogen, instead focusing their energy on producing food. However, much of the scientific research in this area recently has focused on bioengineering an enzyme that will increase the organism’s hydrogen production. Dr. Iftach Yacoby from Tel Aviv University claims that when the enzyme is added to a microorganism, it will suppress sugar production and increase hydrogen production by nearly 400%.

With a promising enzyme in hand, scientists are focused on developing this process to produce a viable and economical system for manufacturing large quantities of hydrogen fuel. In the long term, scientists hope to create a large-scale, widely-available, and inexpensive source of fuel for both industrialized and developing nations.

The original article from ScienceDaily can be found at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110524115144.htm

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