Advertisement

Hydrogen From Artificial Photosynthesis: Future For Fuel Cells?

Follow Antony

Tree [Image: Flickr user Ward.]

Tree [Image: Flickr user Ward.]

Enlarge Photo

For the most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen is remarkably hard to come by on good ol' planet earth.

While the techniques for extracting it are easy enough to understand, the energy required to do so is often significant--meaning hydrogen fuel cell vehicles aren't as squeaky-clean and perfect as they seem.

New research in the UK could change that however, as three universities take a literal and metaphorical leaf from the plant world, in order to generate hydrogen.

According to Wired, a collaborative project between the University of East Anglia, the University of Cambridge and the University of Leeds seeks to artificially replicate the process of photosynthesis to generate hydrogen.

Now you might have spotted the deliberate mistake--during photosynthesis, plants use hydrogen, along with water and sunlight, to create sugars for the plant, and oxygen as a waste product.

The research would adjust the process slightly, using light energy to create hydrogen that could then be used for fuel.

The project is being led by biophysical chemist Julea Butt, from the University of East Anglia.

In a process which sounds like science-fiction, part of the artificial photosynthesis will be achieved by fitting microbes with what amount to tiny solar panels.

“These will harness sunlight and drive the production of hydrogen, from which the technologies to release energy on demand are well-advanced" said Butt.

It's early days yet, but inspiration from the plant world could lead to the production of less energy-intensive hydrogen--perhaps making fuel-cell vehicles more viable than they are today.

+++++++++++

Follow GreenCarReports on Facebook and Twitter.

Advertisement
 
Follow Us

 

Have an opinion?

  • Posting indicates you have read this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use
  • Notify me when there are more comments
Comments (4)
  1. You must be logged in to post your comment. It's been years and years then they say this, yet no cheap hydrogen cars and hydrogen gas for sale nowhere. This is prohibited by goverments and big oil and banks, that's the reason why there is no hydrogen. Hydrogen technology is well known but is constricted in labs where scientists make useless patents and sell it to big oil that put it in a closet.
     
    Post Reply
    +2
    Bad stuff?

     
  2. "New fuel cell sewage gas station in Orange County, CA may be world's first"
    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/orange_county&id=8310315

    "It is here today and it is deployable today," said Tom Mutchler of Air Products and Chemicals Inc., a sponsor and developer of the project.


    Microsoft Backs Away From Grid
    http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2012/11/20/microsoft-backs-away-slowly-from-the-grid/
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

  3. Nice Article! I did a little research and found some impressive municipal waste water treatment plants that use fuel cell technology to produce not only Hyrdrogen but also Electricity and Heat! Really Impressive... Video below.


    "New fuel cell sewage gas station in Orange County, CA may be world's first"
    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/orange_county&id=8310315

    "It is here today and it is deployable today," said Tom Mutchler of Air Products and Chemicals Inc., a sponsor and developer of the project.


    Microsoft Backs Away From Grid
    http://blogs.wsj.com/cio/2012/11/20/microsoft-backs-away-slowly-from-the-grid/


    2.8MW fuel cell using biogas now operating; Largest PPA of its kind in North America
    http://www.fuelcelltod
     
    Post Reply
    -1
    Bad stuff?

  4. I founds some very interesting video/links that show what they are doing with Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants and using Fuel Cell Technology to produce three value streams... Hydrogen, Electricity, and Heat! Impressive in my opinion!!


    2.8MW fuel cell using biogas now operating; Largest PPA of its kind in North America
    http://www.fuelcelltoday.com/news-events/news-archive/2012/october/28-mw-fuel-cell-using-biogas-now-operating-largest-ppa-of-its-kind-in-north-america


    "New fuel cell sewage gas station in Orange County, CA may be world's first"
    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/orange_county&id=8310315

    "It is here today and it is deployable today," said Tom Mutchler of Air Products and Chemicals Inc., a sponsor a
     
    Post Reply
    Vote
    Bad stuff?

 

Have an opinion? Join the conversation!

Advertisement
Advertisement

Find Green Cars

Go!

Advertisement

 
© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.