Chemically manipulating algae for production of hydrogen

Chemically manipulating algae for production of hydrogen

Postby cacofonix » Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:02 pm

Interesting ScienceDaily article from Apr 2, 2008

As gas prices continue to soar to record highs, motorists are crying out for an alternative that won’t cramp their pocketbooks.

Scientists at U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are answering that call by working to chemically manipulate algae for production of the next generation of renewable fuels – hydrogen gas.

“We believe there is a fundamental advantage in looking at the production of hydrogen by photosynthesis as a renewable fuel,” senior chemist David Tiede said. “Right now, ethanol is being produced from corn, but generating ethanol from corn is a thermodynamically much more inefficient process.”

Some varieties of algae, a kind of unicellular plant, contain an enzyme called hydrogenase that can create small amounts of hydrogen gas. Tiede said many believe this is used by Nature as a way to get rid of excess reducing equivalents that are produced under high light conditions, but there is little benefit to the plant.

Tiede and his group are trying to find a way to take the part of the enzyme that creates the gas and introduce it into the photosynthesis process.

Read the full article from here - http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 141539.htm
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