Joint ASU, Tel Aviv Univ. project to improve algal hydrogen production to industrial scale

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $400,000 grant (Nº 1706960) to Arizona State University and Kevin Redding, professor in the School of Molecular Sciences and director of the Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis (CB&P) to obtain industrial-scale algal hydrogen production—a goal that requires an improvement over current technology by... Read more →


The US Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) released its new strategic plan, titled Strategic Plan for a Thriving and Sustainable Bioeconomy. The strategic plan—with a vision for 2040—lays out BETO’s mission to accomplish its vision in a dynamic setting that realizes changes in the energy landscape, advances in... Read more →


Hydrogen from biomethane; gasoline & diesel from tree residue; cellulosic ethanol among new proposed California LCFS fuel pathways

California Air Resources Board (ARB) staff posted 32 new Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) fuel pathway applications for comments at the LCFS website. Among the multiple applications for different processing pathways of corn or sorghum ethanol are four pathways from LytEn for hydrogen produced from biomethane; four pathways for renewable... Read more →


German researchers boost algal hydrogen production five-fold using metabolic engineering approach

Scientists from the Max Planck Institutes for Chemical Energy Conversion and Coal Research and from the research group Photobiotechnology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have discovered a way of increasing the efficiency of hydrogen production in microalgae by a factor of five by using a combined metabolic engineering approach. An open... Read more →


DOE to issue funding opportunity for bioenergy technologies; outliers to current multi-year program plan

The US Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) intends to issue, on behalf of the Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO), a Funding Opportunity Announcement (DE-FOA-0000974) entitled “Bioenergy Technologies Incubator”. BETO’s mission is to engage in R&D and demonstration at increasing scale activities to transform renewable... Read more →


Flow of the new process; enzymes are in red. Credit: Martín del Campo et al. Click to enlarge. A team of Virginia Tech researchers, led by Dr. Y.H. Percival Zhang, has developed a process to convert xylose—the second-most abundant sugar in plants—into hydrogen with approaching 100% of the theoretical yield.... Read more →


Obama Administration releases National Bioeconomy Blueprint; health, food, energy and environment

The White House today released a national Bioeconomy Blueprint, a comprehensive approach to harnessing innovations in biological research to address national challenges in health, food, energy, and the environment. In coordination with the Blueprint’s release, Federal officials also announced a number of new commitments to help achieve the Blueprint’s goals.... Read more →


Researchers develop new approach to optimize hydrogen production in a photosynthetic process

Researchers have developed a previously undescribed approach to optimize hydrogen production in a photosynthetic process by microorganisms such as algae and cyanobacteria. An open access paper on their work is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Although photosynthetic water splitting, coupled to hydrogenase-catalyzed hydrogen production, is... Read more →


The H2 yield increases when Calvin cycle flux is blocked by mutation (black bars; white bars represent the parent). Source: McKinlay and Harwood. Click to enlarge. Reducing the ability of certain bacteria to fix carbon dioxide can greatly increase their production of hydrogen gas, according to a open access paper... Read more →


Conceptual sketch of future metabolomics challenges and opportunities from May 2010 NSF-JST workshop on metabolomics. Click to enlarge. The US National Science Foundation (NSF) and Japan Science and Technology Agency (NSF-JST) have launched a joint program, Metabolomics for a Low Carbon Society (METABOLOMICS), and are soliciting research projects. The goal... Read more →


Neutron scattering analysis performed at ORNL shows the lamellar structure of a hydrogen-producing, biohybrid composite material formed by the self-assembly of naturally occurring, light harvesting proteins with polymers. Source: ORNL. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory are developing a biohybrid photoconversion... Read more →


Schematic diagram showing the process of biohydrogen production by Cyanothece 51142 cells using solar energy and atmospheric CO2 and/or glycerol. Bandyopadhyay et al. Click to enlarge. Researchers from Washington University and Purdue University report on the ability of the single-celled cyanobacterium Cyanothece 51142 to produce biohydrogen under aerobic conditions in... Read more →


Biohydrocarbon Fuel Company LS9 Wins Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award

LS9, a synthetic biology company developing fermentation-derived drop-in renewable fuels and chemicals (earlier post), has won a 2010 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for its “Renewable Petroleum” technology that converts sustainable, plant-based materials into low-carbon fuels and chemicals. LS9 modifies the ACP pathway in bacteria to produce renewable hydrocarbon fuels... Read more →


Karlsruhe Institute of Technology Leads Project on Hydrogen Production From Microalgae; €2.1M Funding for ”HydroMicPro“

In cooperation with eight partners, scientists from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are working on the development of highly efficient methods for hydrogen production from microalgae. The “H2 from microalgae: With cell- and reactor design towards economically feasible production” (HydroMicPro) project is being coordinated by Professor Clemens Posten from... Read more →


Cartoon representation of a hybrid (enzyme-TiO2) nanoparticle system showing aspects that are desirable for efficient and practical H2 production from sunlight. The system is shown with a hydrogenase (Db [NiFeSe]-H) as catalyst and the complex (RuP) that proved to be the most suitable photosensitizer. Source: Reisner et al./ ACS. Click... Read more →


Schematic of the electron flow in the photosystem I catalytic nanoparticle. Source: Iwuchukwu et al., Nature Nanotechnology. Click to enlarge. Researchers at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville have shown that a combination of photosystem I from a thermophilic bacterium and cytochrome-c6 can, in combination with a platinum catalyst, generate... Read more →


Researchers Discover How Oxygen Attacks Hydrogen-Producing Enzymes in Photosynthetic Organisms; Insight Could Assist Identification of New Pathways for Bio-Hydrogen Production

An international team of scientists from the UK, Germany and France have discovered how oxygen stops photosynthetic organisms such as green algae from producing hydrogen. The findings could help advance development of the microbial production of hydrogen from sunlight and water. They reported their results in two papers, one last... Read more →


Chinese Researchers Show Enhanced Hydrogen Production from Corn Stover by Anaerobic Fermentation

Researchers at Zhengzhou University, China, have shown the enhanced production of hydrogen from pretreated corn stalk biomass by mixed culture using manure from the lesser panda as the source of the hydrogen-producing bacteria. The study is reported in Issue 54 (8)the Chinese Science Bulletin, a journal co-sponsored by the Chinese... Read more →


Enzymatic Process Converts Cellulosic Materials and Water into Hydrogen at Low Temperature; Close to Theoretical Yield of H2 From Glucose

Hydrogen production from cellodextrin and water by a synthetic enzymatic pathway. Ye et al. (2009) Click to enlarge. Researchers at Virginia Tech, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the University of Georgia have produced hydrogen gas in a spontaneous, “one-pot” process using an enzyme cocktail, cellulosic materials from non-food sources,... Read more →


DOE Awards $1.75M for Hydrogen and Ethanol from Cellulosic Biomass Project

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded University of Rochester Professor David Wu a $1.75 million grant to investigate a way to turn waste biomass, such as grass clippings, cornstalks, and wood chips, into usable hydrogen or ethanol. Wu has been studying Clostridium thermocellum—an anaerobic, thermophilic, cellulolytic, and ethanologenic... Read more →


Study Concludes That Microbial Electrolysis Cells Are a Promising Approach to Renewable and Sustainable Hydrogen Production

Schematics of a two-chamber (flat anode) (A) and single-chamber membraneless (brush anode) (B) MEC. Bacteria (green ovals) grow on the anode and donate electrons but can also function as the biocatalyst on the cathode (dotted green ovals). Click to enlarge. Credit: ACS A review of the materials, architectures, performance, and... Read more →


Biohydrogen from a Coupled Microbial Fuel Cell and Microbial Electrolysis Cell System

Working principles of the MEC-MFC-coupled system. Click to enlarge. Credit: ACS. Researchers in China report on the development of a coupled microbial fuel cell (MFC)/microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) system for the production of biohydrogen from acetate. Hydrogen was produced in an MEC, with the requisite power supplied solely by an... Read more →


New Membrane-Free Microbial Electrolysis Cell for Hydrogen Production from Biowaste

Schematic of a microbial electrolysis cell. Click to enlarge. Source: OSU Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) have developed a new membrane-free microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) for the production of hydrogen gas from several types of biowaste—including ordinary municipal sewage. The findings are reported in the journal Water Research. Microbial... Read more →


DOE Awards $1.6M for Investigation of Hydrogen Production by Thermotoga Bacteria

Thermotoga maritima (green/yellow rods) growing in co-culture with Methanococcus jannaschii (red spheres). T. maritima ferments sugars to hydrogen and M. jannaschii converts hydrogen to methane. The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $1.6 million to a team led by North Carolina State University to learn more about the microbiology,... Read more →


Researchers Develop Two-stage Bioreactor System for Optimized Bio-Hydrogen Production

The process flow of the two-stage bio-hydrogen system. Click to enlarge. Source: biowaste2energy. Researchers at the University of Birmingham (UK) have combined two types of hydrogen-producing bacteria—one that uses fermentation, and the other that uses photosynthesis—in a two-stage bioreactor system to produce hydrogen from sugary feedstocks. According to an article... Read more →


Biométhodes Licenses Virginia Tech Bioethanol and Biohydrogen Technology

Biométhodes, a French biotechnology company in Evry, has signed an exclusive and worldwide option-to-license agreement with Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc. (VTIP) for multiple technologies for converting biomass to bioethanol and biohydrogen. The processes were developed by Percival Zhang, assistant professor of biological systems engineering in the College of Agriculture... Read more →


Researchers at Penn State Show Increased Hydrogen Yield in Membrane-less Microbial Electrolysis Cell

Researchers at Penn State have obtained hydrogen yields from a membrane-less microbial electrolysis cell (MEC) that is double the amount obtained in previous MEC studies. Prior work has assumed that a membrane is needed in an MEC to avoid hydrogen losses due to bacterial consumption of the product gas. This... Read more →


Researchers Develop and Synthesize Stable Inorganic Catalyst for Artificial Photosynthesis

A tetraruthenium polyoxometalate cluster (Ru blue, O red, Si yellow, W black) catalyzes the rapid oxidation of H2O to O2 in water at ambient temperature, and shows considerable stability under turnover conditions. Click to enlarge. A team of researchers from Forschungszentrum Jülich in Germany and Emory University in the US... Read more →


US Air Force Funding Research on BioSolar Hydrogen Production

US Air Force-funded researchers are investigating ways to produce large quantities of hydrogen gas using photosynthetic algae and cyanobacteria. The program—Renewable Bio-solar Hydrogen Production from Robust Oxygenic Phototrophs—is led by Dr. Charles Dismukes of Princeton University and involves researchers from seven colleges and universities plus the Air Force Research Laboratory,... Read more →


Genetically Engineered E. Coli Shows Increased Hydrogen Production Up to 141 Times Greater Than Wild Type

Schematic of fermentative hydrogen production in E. coli. Hydrogen is produced from formate by the formate hydrogen lyase (FHL) system, which is activated by FhlA and repressed by HycA. Evolved hydrogen is consumed through the hydrogen uptake activity of hydrogenase 1 and hydrogenase 2. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Texas... Read more →


Researchers Develop System for Photocatalytic Production of Hydrogen Without Noble Metal Catalyst

The supramolecular system for photocatalytic H2 production uses Ruthenium (left) as the photosensistizer and cobaloxime catalytic centers (right). Click to enlarge. Researchers at the joint Laboratoire de Chimie et Biologie des Métaux (LCBM), CEA-CNRS-Université Joseph Fourier, have developed a new supramolecular system for the photocatalytic production of hydrogen that uses... Read more →


Researcher Exploring Microbial Conversion of Rotten Peaches to Hydrogen

A biosystems engineer at Clemson University (South Carolina) is investigating the use of Thermotoga neapolitana—an extremophile bacterium that can produce hydrogen by fermentation—to produce hydrogen from rotten peaches. The South Carolina Peach Council is funding research by Caye Drapcho and graduate assistant Abhiney Jain. There are more than 200 million... Read more →


Researchers Identify New Hydrogen- and Ethanol-Producing Bacteria That Withstand High Temperatures

A team of researchers from Finland, Iceland and Taiwan have found new strains of bacteria with the potential of producing hydrogen or ethanol fuels from wastewater now discharged from factories that process sugar beets, potatoes and other plant material. Fermentations can produce fuels such as hydrogen and ethanol (EtOH) from... Read more →


Solar Bio-Fuels Consortium Receives Grant to Boost Algal Production of Hydrogen

The central role of photosynthesis in biofuel production. Click to enlarge. Source: Solar Bio-fuels Consortium. The Solar Bio-fuels Consortium has received an A$286,000 (US$255,000) Australian Research Council grant to help enhance the efficiency of the algal production of hydrogen. Ben Hankamer from the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) at The... Read more →


Researchers Develop Method for Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Biomass at High Yields

The synthetic metabolic pathway for conversion of polysaccharides and water to hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Click to enlarge. Researchers at Virginia Tech, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the University of Georgia have developed a novel method using multiple enzymes as a catalyst for the direct, low-cost production of hydrogen... Read more →


Imperial College London Launches £4.2M Research Program on Renewable Hydrogen Production

Imperial College London has launched a new £4.2 million (US$8.4 million) research program to develop both biological and chemical solar-driven processes to develop renewable and cost-effective methods of producing hydrogen which can be used to operate fuel cells. The five-year project aims to develop materials and technologies for the enhanced... Read more →


A Two-Stage Process for Hydrogen Production from Cattle Manure

Researchers at New Mexico State University are attempting to use cow manure and other organic solid wastes to produce hydrogen cost-effectively. The researchers will develop and demonstrate a two-stage process to produce hydrogen from cattle manure. In the first stage, hydrogen will be produced through anaerobic hydrolysis and fermentation. In... Read more →


Genetically Engineered Protein Can Split Water into Hydrogen and Oxygen

Scientists have combined two molecules that occur naturally in blood to engineer a molecular complex that uses solar energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The research is published today in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Professors Tsuchida and Komatsu from Waseda University, Japan, in collaboration with... Read more →


Nanologix Increases Biohydrogen Output 3x with New Nutrient Mix

Microbiologists at Nanologix, Inc., a nano-biotechnology company engaged in the research, development and commercialization of technologies for alternative sources of fuel, have succeeded in increasing the output from their hydrogen bioreactors by using a new nutrient mix. NanoLogix uses a fermentative approach to the microbial production of hydrogen. In a... Read more →


Researchers to Sequence Six Strains of Cyanobacteria in Pursuit of Biofuel Production

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is providing $1.6 million for the sequencing the DNA of six related strains of Cyanothece photosynthetic bacteria that biologists at Washington University in St. Louis will examine for their potential as sources of biofuel—especially ethanol. One additional Cyanothece strain, 54112, has already been... Read more →


NanoLogix Receives $1 Million to Accelerate Biohydrogen Research & Development

NanoLogix, a nano-biotechnology company engaged in the development and commercialization of technologies for the creation of hydrogen bioreactors, has received $1 million in interim funding from a California financial group. Terms of the financing were not disclosed. Net proceeds will be used to further the research and development of its... Read more →


NanoLogix to Build Hydrogen Bioreactor at Wastewater Plant

NanoLogix, a nanobiotechnology company engaged in the development and commercialization of technologies for the creation of hydrogen bioreactors, has signed an agreement for the construction and operation of a prototype hydrogen bioreactor at the City of Erie wastewater treatment plant. This project will utilize the proprietary intellectual property of NanoLogix... Read more →


Bacterial Hydrogen Production from Confectionary Waste

The bioreactor. Note the fan at right, powered by a fuel cell using the resulting H2. The gas passes via a glass “trap” to capture excess moisture. In a feasibility study funded by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), bioscientists at the University of Birmingham have demonstrated... Read more →


Researchers Sequence Genome of Hydrogen-Producing Bacterium

Genomic organization of C. hydrogenoformans Scientists at The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR) have sequenced the genome of Carboxydothermus hydrogenoformans, a fast-growing thermophilic microbe that lives on carbon monoxide and produces hydrogen gas and CO2 as waste. The analysis of the genome is providing insights into the metabolism of this... Read more →


DOE Awards $900,000 to Oregon State University Biohydrogen Researchers

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a $900,000 grant over three years to researchers in Oregon State University’s Department of Bioengineering. OSU professors Roger Ely and Frank Chaplen are exploring the hydrogen-generating potential of cyanobacteria—the photosynthetic microorganisms also known as blue-green algae. Under certain conditions, the cyanobacteria will... Read more →


XCel Funds Further Development of Ovonic Biofuel to Hydrogen Process

Ovonic Battery Company, a subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices (ECD Ovonics), has been awarded a $900,000 contract by Xcel Energy to support R&D of a new base-facilitated process for reforming renewable fuels, such as bioethanol and biomethanol, to produce hydrogen for use in fuel cells or engines. This fundamentally new... Read more →


UIUC Research Could Lead to Improved Bio-hydrogen Production

Schematic diagram of hydrogen-oxygen reaction taking place in hydrogenase CpI. Numerous researchers are exploring the use of enzymes known as hydrogenases as a mechanism for producing molecular hydrogen from microorganisms (i.e., bio-hydrogen). One of the main barriers to this process, however, is that hydrogenase, when exposed to oxygen, eventually shuts... Read more →


DOE Issues Major Roadmap for New Biological Research for Energy and Environmental Needs

GTL Science and Technology Foundations for DOE Missions. The Department of Energy (DOE) today issued a comprehensive plan for a new generation of biological research that builds on genome project investments to tackle national energy and environmental challenges. The Genomics: GTL (Genomes to Life) Roadmap—Systems Biology for Energy and Environment... Read more →


NanoLogix Scales Up its Hydrogen Bio-Reactor

C. perfringens, H2 Producer Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc. NanoLogix, formerly InfecTech (earlier post), has signed an agreement to generate hydrogen from a scaled-up bio-reactor system using waste organic matter from a winery as feedstock for hydrogen-producing bacteria. There are two basic approaches to the microbial production of hydrogen: fermentative and... Read more →


DOE and USDA to Collaborate on Biomass-to-Hydrogen; DOE Awards $64M in Other Hydrogen Research

The Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working together to develop cost-effective technologies for hydrogen production from biomass resources. Under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two agencies today, DOE and USDA experts will meet regularly to share information on technologies and... Read more →