Hydrogen from Algae ! 10Anastasios Melis, a plant- and microbial-biology professor at the University of California, Berkeley, USA, believes that genetically engineered versions of the tiny green organisms, ie Algae, have a good shot at being a viable source for hydrogen.
His trick is to use a Genetically modified Algae that absorbs sunlight better. It helps triple the production of hydrogen. He claims it also helps in the algae's production of oil, although he has not given any figures.
Melis is designing an algae, that has less chlorophyl molecules, from the present to 600 to about 130.
The calculation goes like this.
One acre of algae could produce 40 kilograms of hydrogen per day. That would bring the cost of producing hydrogen to $2.80 a kilogram.
At this price, hydrogen could compete with gasoline, since a kilogram of hydrogen is equivalent in energy to a gallon of gasoline.
Seems pretty interesting. There are some key questions that are unanswered.
Isnt it better and more efficient to make solar power than to grow algae and produce Hydrogen. Another question that remains unanswered is how do we convert Hydrogen into a fossil fuel ?
This will make sense only if the efficiency is much more than the Solar Thermal which has an efficiency of about 25 to 30 % in conversion.
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