Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Using Microbes To Fuel The New Hydrogen Economy

Date:
September 13, 2006
Source:
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Summary:
Experimental setups using bacteria given a simple glucose feedstock can generate copious amounts of hydrogen gas at temperatures between 158 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit at atmospheric to elevated pressure. A Brookhaven National Laboratory researcher believes it is possible to scale up this system for continuous, farm-based, economical hydrogen production.

Daniel (Niels) van der Lelie.
Credit: Image courtesy of Brookhaven National Laboratory

“If the U.S. is to have a future hydrogen-based economy, we’ll need a way to generate abundant quantities of hydrogen safely and economically,” said Daniel (Niels) van der Lelie, a biologist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. Van der Lelie discussed the prospect of using vats of microbes to brew up the hydrogen in a talk this week at the 232nd national meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Francisco, California.

Related Articles


The focus on hydrogen as a future fuel source is compelling given dwindling supplies of oil and natural gas, as well as escalating costs and the fact that burning fossil fuels releases large amounts of carbon dioxide, a “greenhouse” gas, into the atmosphere. In contrast, burning hydrogen gas (for example, in a fuel cell) produces no pollution. And hydrogen, a constituent of water, is widely abundant. However, finding simple, inexpensive ways to extract that abundant element and produce it in a pure gaseous form — a crucial step toward making the “hydrogen economy” a reality — has been a technological challenge.

Van der Lelie’s group reports that experimental setups using Thermatoga neapolitana bacteria given a simple glucose feedstock can generate copious amounts of hydrogen gas at temperatures between 158 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit at atmospheric to elevated pressure. In his talk, van der Lelie will describe the complex biochemistry of these reactions as well as the potential to scale up this system for continuous, farm-based, economical hydrogen production. One significant finding was that Thermatoga neapolitana produced hydrogen most efficiently in a moderately low-oxygen environment. Previously, hydrogen production by bacteria has only been reported under anaerobic, or oxygen-free, conditions.

“Oxygen normally kills anaerobic microbes like Thermatoga neapolitana,” van der Lelie said. That would be a problem for any real-world production facilities, as eliminating all oxygen from production lines could be very expensive. “Our research provides the first evidence that bacteria can efficiently produce hydrogen gas when oxygen is present.”

In collaboration with Paul King, a scientist at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Brookhaven team is now elucidating the mechanisms by which Thermatoga neapolitana can avoid oxygen toxicity during hydrogen production. “Understanding the oxygen tolerance of Thermatoga neapolitana will facilitate its practical application to produce hydrogen from agricultural resources,” van der Lelie said.

This research was funded by Laboratory Directed Research and Development funds at the Brookhaven National Laboratory under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy. DOE has developed a long-term national vision for moving toward a hydrogen economy — a solution that holds the potential to provide virtually limitless clean, safe, secure, affordable, and reliable energy from domestic resources.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brookhaven National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brookhaven National Laboratory. "Using Microbes To Fuel The New Hydrogen Economy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060913100628.htm>.
Brookhaven National Laboratory. (2006, September 13). Using Microbes To Fuel The New Hydrogen Economy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060913100628.htm
Brookhaven National Laboratory. "Using Microbes To Fuel The New Hydrogen Economy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060913100628.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Real-Life Transformer Robot Walks, Then Folds Into a Car

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) Brave Robotics and Asratec teamed with original Transformers toy company Tomy to create a functional 5-foot-tall humanoid robot that can march and fold itself into a 3-foot-long sports car. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

Police Testing New Gunfire Tracking Technology

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A California-based startup has designed new law enforcement technology that aims to automatically alert dispatch when an officer's gun is unholstered and fired. Two law enforcement agencies are currently testing the technology. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins