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Creating hydrogen via a biological process

Research Achievements

Creating hydrogen via a biological process

Task One team's research objective is to create hydrogen via a biological process. PIs Bruce (Biochemical, Cellular & Molecular Biology) and Frymier (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering) are using photosynthesis as a hydrogen source; however, the high temperatures which would exist in a large system designed to harness sunlight were not efficient. We found that by starting with a thermophilic blue-green algae, which favors warmer temperatures, we could sustain the reaction at higher temperatures. Using the blue-green algae, coupled with a platinum catalyst, produced a steady supply of hydrogen when the algae is exposed to light. We also found that the process was more than ten times more efficient as the temperature increased.