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Bio-hydrogen

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  • Bio-hydrogen is hydrogen gas produced by certain life forms, such as hydrogen producing bacteria.
  • Bio-hydrogen production is performed in special bioreactor environments where biological organisms generate hydrogen gas in the presence of either sun light or from hydrogen-containing renewable biomass, such as glucose, sucrose, maltose, glycerol or starch.
  • In the past one hundred years, scientists isolated and studied many hydrogen gas-producing microorganisms, including green algae, cyanobacteria and eubacteria.
  • Especially members belonging to the latter group, such as Enterobacteria, Thermotogae, and Clostridia, have been reported to generate bio-hydrogen from diverse sugar feedstock mostly via fermentative pathways.
  • To achieve this remarkable feat, these bacteria rely on a unique class of evolutionary ancient enzymes (bio-catalysts) termed hydrogenases. With the help of these hydrogenase enzymes hydrogen producing bacteria generate hydrogen gas (H2) from feedstock-derived reduction equivalents (electrons) and protons (H+).
  • Biohydrogen production technology can utilize renewable energy sources like biomass for the generation of hydrogen, the cleanest form of energy for the use of mankind.
  • Bio-hydrogen production rates by most of the researched microorganisms are currently low and only between 0.37 to 2.3 moles H2 per mole of glucose have so far been reported.
  • Considering the high theoretical value of production of 4.0 moles H2 per mole of glucose and the prospect of sustainable feeding of future bio hydrogen systems with renewable biomass-derive glucose and other carbohydrates, hydrogen production with the help of biological organisms certainly will have a bright future in a fossil energy depleted earth of tomorrow.
  • Bio hydrogen gas can be generated safely and – if immediately used on site with the help of suitable hydrogen converting technologies, such as a fuel cell – at competitively low operational costs devoid of transportation and distribution. To give an example, the international oil company BP spent (2006) about $1.7 billion per year for operational safety at its U.S. refineries alone.
  • Bio-hydrogen can be economically produced from diverse biomass waste streams with minimum energy inputs. Bio-hydrogen gas generation allows the effective and low cost capturing of the concomitantly generated green house gas CO2 and opens the perspective for the development of efficient “carbon sink technologies”.
  • Two mini hydrogen concept cars were also introduced at the launch ceremony and a change of the biohydrogen batteries in the vehicles was demonstrated. The cars, each fueled by six containers of hydrogen, produce no air pollutants, only water.

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