Thursday, April 18, 2013

Green algae as a source for hydrogen production

Hydrogen is considered by many energy experts as one of the most promising future fuels, mostly because of its almost unlimited potential. There are many ongoing researches which study different options on how to produce hydrogen directly from sunlight because by doing so hydrogen is both  renewable as well as environmentally friendly energy source.

There are different biological ways that allow the production of hydrogen with one of the most interesting being using photosynthetic microorganisms such as green algae. During the process of photosynthesis water is split into hydrogen ions (H+) and electrons (e-) which can later be combined into hydrogen gas with the use of special enzymes.

It has been know for quite some time that green algae can use energy from the sun through photosynthesis to produce hydrogen through their own metabolism, however this process is usually accompanied with insufficient efficiency.

The latest study from Swedish scientists has discovered that most of the hydrogen production is driven directly by solar energy meaning that there is a good possibility that in the future it will be possible to control the green algae so that the efficiency becomes significantly higher than it is today.

The previous studies, on the other hand, claimed that most of the hydrogen gas gets its energy from other paths in the metabolism of the green algae. This would lead to conclusion that green algae are no more efficient as energy crops than plants.

This new study gives hope that green algae could become major fuel source in years to come.