The US Department of Energy (DOE) has issued (DE-FOA-0001065) a request for feedback on biological hydrogen production research and development (R&D) pathways, barriers, issues and opportunities for development of technologies that can ultimately produce low cost hydrogen that meets DOE goals.
DOE is specifically requesting feedback on the Workshop Report for the Biological Hydrogen Production Workshop held 24-25 September 2013 by the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, CO.
The workshop featured 29 participants representing academia, government, and national laboratories with expertise in the relevant fields. The objective of the Biological Hydrogen Production Workshop was to share information and identify issues, barriers, and research and development needs for biological hydrogen production to enable hydrogen production that meets cost goals.
The workshop was divided into sessions for two topic areas: photobiological hydrogen production, and non-light driven biological hydrogen production.
In photobiological hydrogen production, biological systems use light to produce energy and/or substrates for the evolution of hydrogen gas.
Non-light driven hydrogen production processes are those that do not require light to function—e.g., fermentation of biomass or microbial fuel cell-related activities.
Across all pathways, major near-term themes included the need to establish the necessary knowledge base and tools for the development of biological hydrogen production pathways.
Across all timeframes, a major theme was the integration and demonstration of system components, technoeconomic analysis and identification of key system metrics to assess and examine production pathways.
Among the broad conclusions were:
In the photobiological area, pathways are in relatively early stages of development and important areas of future study include better understanding of energy flows, target- and hypothesis-driven screens of diverse sample sets, and development or improvement of tools to enable manipulation of organisms.
The non-light driven biological hydrogen production pathways are further along in development, which is reflected in the areas of study identified for these technologies, which include scale-up and reactor design, tools to manipulate strains, and improved understanding of metabolic and energy flows.