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Researchers Induce Algae to Produce Hydrogen

May 26th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Algae-Fuel-Research

“Algae are not interested in producing hydrogen, but we persuade them to do it”, say researchers at MIT. Scientists at MIT, Tel Aviv University and US NREL scientists claim that they have found a way to use algae to produce four times more hydrogen than usual. Many algae use sunlight and water to produce hydrogen, but they are loath to do so. Instead, they prefer producing sugars for their own growth. Scientists at MIT have found a possible way to use a bioengineered protein to reverse this preference, and make them to produce more hydrogen.

A multitasking enzyme, introduced into the algal growth medium not only suppresses the sugar production but also redirects the organisms’ energies into hydrogen production. It increases the rate of algal hydrogen production by about 400 percent. The team can’t take it any further, they say, as the algae needs to produce some sugar in order to survive.

According to Shuguang Zhang, the associate director of MIT’s Center for Biomedical Engineering, this is a step closer to the industrial process and could be used to produce hydrogen on a large scale using water and sunlight.

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