Brewing hydrogen with bacteria

As many of you point out, the hydrogen economy remains on the distant horizon for a handful of reasons, one of which being the absence of an economical, safe and environmentally friendly production method. Daniel (Niels) van der Lelie, a biologist at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory, however, believes we will be able to use bacteria to safely "brew" it.

His team's lab experiments show that the bacterium Thermatoga neapolitana is able to generate large quantities of hydrogen when given a glucose feedstock. One of the most significant of their findings is that the bacterium was able to produce the hydrogen in an environment in which oxygen was present. Until now, this had only been witnessed in oxygen-free conditions. Van der Lelie stresses the importance of this because removing all of the oxygen from an environment would burden the production process with massive costs.

[Source: Brookhaven National Laboratory via Fuel Cell Today]

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