Navigation Links
Algae could one day be major hydrogen fuel source

ARGONNE, Ill. (April 1, 2008) As gas prices continue to soar to record highs, motorists are crying out for an alternative that wont cramp their pocketbooks.

Scientists at U.S. Department of Energys 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.

The result would be a large amount of hydrogen gas, possibly on par with the amount of oxygen created.

Biology can do it, but its making it do it at 5-10 percent yield thats the problem, Tiede said. What we would like to do is take that catalyst out of hydrogenase and put into the photosynthetic protein framework. We are fortunate to have Professor Thomas Rauchfuss as a collaborator from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana who is an expert on the synthesis of hydrogenase active site mimics.

Algae has several benefits over corn in fuel production. It can be grown in a closed system almost anywhere including deserts or even rooftops, and there is no competition for food or fertile soil. Algae is also easier to harvest because it has no roots or fruit and grows dispersed in water.

If you have terrestrial plants like corn, you are restricted to where you could grow them, Tiede said. There is a problem now with biofuel crops competing with food crops because they are both using the same space. Algae provides an alternative, which can be grown in a closed photobioreactor analogous to a microbial fermentor that you could move any place.

Tiede admitted the research is its beginning phases, but he is confident in his team and their research goals. The next step is to create a way to attach the catalytic enzyme to the molecule.


Contact: Brock Cooper
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

Related biology news :

1. Study involving more than 100 scientists provides new insights on green algae
2. Green algae -- the nexus of plant/animal ancestry
3. Montana State University researcher finds renewed interest in turning algae into fuel
4. Newly created cancer stem cells could aid breast cancer research
5. Obesity and lack of exercise could enhance the risk of pancreatic cancer
6. Finding that 1-in-a-billion that could lead to disease
7. 60 second test could help early diagnosis of common brain diseases
8. Auto immune response creates barrier to fertility; could be a step in speciation
9. Paracetamol, one of most used analgesics, could slow down bone growth
10. Drug could improve pregnancy outcomes in wider range of women with insulin resistance
11. Thousands of starving children could be restored to health with peanut butter program
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/18/2015)... PHILADELPHIA , Nov. 18, 2015  As new ... in children, doctors and other healthcare providers face challenges ... counsel families and patients. In addition, as more children ... into a patient,s adulthood and old age. ... The Children,s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) . ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... EASTON, Mass. , Nov. 17, 2015 ... a leader in the development and sale of broadly ... the worldwide life sciences industry, today announced it has ... of its $5 million Private Placement (the "Offering"), increasing ... to $4,025,000.  One or more additional closings are expected ...
(Date:11/11/2015)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical technology ... pleased to announce that it will be a Sponsor of ... to be held November 17-19 in Hamburg ... of iMedNet , MedNet,s easy-to-use, proven and ... has been able to deliver time and cost savings of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... Report is a professional and in-depth study on ...      (Logo: ) , ... the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry ... for the international markets including development trends, competitive ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the ... (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing to low-cost ... but higher volume share for the region in ... however, margins in the CRO industry will improve. ... ( ), finds that the market ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ) ... the following conference, and invited investors to participate via ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo Therapeutics ... today reported financial results for the quarter ended ... expressed in Canadian dollars and presented under International ... United States ," said Andrew Rae ... advancements regarding iCo-008 are not only value enriching ...
Breaking Biology Technology: