Biological hydrogen production (Algae)
The biological hydrogen production with algae is a method of photobiological water splitting which is done in a closed photobioreactor based on the production of hydrogen as a solar fuel by algae. Algae produce hydrogen under certain conditions. In 2000 it was discovered that if C. reinhardtii algae are deprived of sulfur they will switch from the production of oxygen, as in normal photosynthesis, to the production of hydrogen.
Photosynthesis in cyanobacteria and green algae splits water into hydrogen ions and electrons. The electrons are transported over ferredoxins. Fe-Fe-hydrogenases (enzymes) combine them into hydrogen gas. In Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Photosystem II produces in direct conversion of sunlight 80% of the electrons that end up in the hydrogen gas. Light-harvesting complex photosystem II light-harvesting protein LHCBM9 promotes efficient light energy dissipation. The Fe-Fe-hydrogenases need an anaerobic environment as they are inactivated by oxygen. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy is used to examine metabolic pathways.
The chlorophyll (Chl) antenna size in green algae is minimized, or truncated, to maximize photobiological solar conversion efficiency and H2 production. The truncated Chl antenna size minimizes absorption and wasteful dissipation of sunlight by individual cells, resulting in better light utilization efficiency and greater photosynthetic productivity by the green alga mass culture.
In 1939 a German researcher named Hans Gaffron, while working at the University of Chicago, observed that the algae he was studying, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (a green-algae), would sometimes switch from the production of oxygen to the production of hydrogen. He never discovered the cause for this change and for many years other scientists failed in their attempts at its discovery. In the late 1990s, professor Anastasios Melis a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley discovered that if the algae culture medium is deprived of sulfur it will switch from the production of oxygen (normal photosynthesis), to the production of hydrogen. He found that the enzyme responsible for this reaction is hydrogenase, but that the hydrogenase lost this function in the presence of oxygen. Melis found that depleting the amount of sulfur available to the algae interrupted its internal oxygen flow, allowing the hydrogenase an environment in which it can react, causing the algae to produce hydrogen. Chlamydomonas moewusii is also a good strain for the production of hydrogen.
1997 Professor Anastasios Melis discovered, after following Hans Gaffron's work, that the deprivation of sulfur will cause the algae to switch from producing oxygen to producing hydrogen. The enzyme, hydrogenase, he found was responsible for the reaction.
2006 - Researchers from the University of Bielefeld and the University of Queensland have genetically changed the single-cell green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii in such a way that it produces an especially large amount of hydrogen. The Stm6 can, in the long run, produce five times the volume made by the wild form of alga and up to 1.6-2.0 percent energy efficiency.
2007 - Anastasios Melis studying solar-to-chemical energy conversion efficiency in tlaX mutants of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, achieved 15% efficiency, demonstrating that truncated Chl antenna size would minimize wasteful dissipation of sunlight by individual cells This solar-to-chemical energy conversion process could be coupled to the production of a variety of bio-fuels including hydrogen.
2009 - A team from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and Oak Ridge National Laboratory stated that the process was more than 10 times more efficient as the temperature increased.
2011 - Adding a bioengineered enzyme increases the rate of algal hydrogen production by about 400 percent.
Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory are currently trying to find a way to take the part of the hydrogenase enzyme that creates the hydrogen gas and introduce it into the photosynthesis process. The result would be a large amount of hydrogen gas, possibly on par with the amount of oxygen created.
As of 2009, HydroMicPro is testing plate reactors.
As of 2013, Grow Energy has developed novel system for the large-scale production of hydrogen from structural bioreactors.
It would take about 25,000 square kilometres to be sufficient to displace gasoline use in the US. To put this in perspective, this area represents approximately 10% of the area devoted to growing soya in the US.
In 2004, the US Department of Energy issued a selling price of $2.60 per kilogram ($1.18/lb) as a goal for making renewable hydrogen economically viable. 1 kg is approximately the energy equivalent to a gallon of gasoline. To achieve this, the efficiency of light-to-hydrogen conversion must reach 10% while 2004 achieved-efficiency is only 1% and the 2004 actual selling price is estimated at $13.53 per kilogram ($6.14/lb)
According to a 2004 DOE cost estimate, for a refueling station to supply 100 cars per day, it would need 300 kg. With current technology, a 300 kg per day stand-alone system will require 110,000 m2 of pond area, 0.2 g/l cell concentration, a truncated antennae mutant and 10 cm pond depth.
Bioreactor design issues
- Restriction of photosynthetic hydrogen production by accumulation of a proton gradient.
- Competitive inhibition of photosynthetic hydrogen production by carbon dioxide.
- Requirement for bicarbonate binding at photosystem II (PSII) for efficient photosynthetic activity.
- Competitive drainage of electrons by oxygen in algal hydrogen production.
- Economics must reach competitive price to other sources of energy and the economics are dependent on several parameters.
- A major technical obstacle is the efficiency in converting solar energy into chemical energy stored in molecular hydrogen.
Attempts are in progress to solve these problems via bioengineering.
- Hemschemeier, Anja; Melis, Anastasios; Happe, Thomas (2009). "Analytical approaches to photobiological hydrogen production in unicellular green algae". Photosynthesis Research 102 (2–3): 523–540. doi:10.1007/s11120-009-9415-5. ISSN 0166-8595. PMID 19291418.
- Wired-Mutant Algae Is Hydrogen Factory
- Peden, E. A.; Boehm, M.; Mulder, D. W.; Davis, R.; Old, W. M.; King, P. W.; Ghirardi, M. L.; Dubini, A. (2013). "Identification of Global Ferredoxin Interaction Networks in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii". Journal of Biological Chemistry 288 (49): 35192–35209. doi:10.1074/jbc.M113.483727. ISSN 0021-9258. PMID 24100040.
- Volgusheva, A.; Styring, S.; Mamedov, F. (2013). "Increased photosystem II stability promotes H2 production in sulfur-deprived Chlamydomonas reinhardtii". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110 (18): 7223–7228. doi:10.1073/pnas.1220645110. ISSN 0027-8424.
- Grewe, S.; Ballottari, M.; Alcocer, M.; D'Andrea, C.; Blifernez-Klassen, O.; Hankamer, B.; Mussgnug, J. H.; Bassi, R.; Kruse, O. (2014). "Light-Harvesting Complex Protein LHCBM9 Is Critical for Photosystem II Activity and Hydrogen Production in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii". The Plant Cell 26 (4): 1598–1611. doi:10.1105/tpc.114.124198. ISSN 1040-4651. PMC 4036574. PMID 24706511.
- Langner U, Jakob T, Stehfest K, Wilhelm C (2009) An energy balance from absorbed photons to new biomass for Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Chlamydomonas acidophila under neutral and extremely acidic growth conditions. Plant Cell Environ 32 (3):250-8. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-3040.2008.01917.x PMID: 19054351
- Kirst, H.; Garcia-Cerdan, J. G.; Zurbriggen, A.; Ruehle, T.; Melis, A. (2012). "Truncated Photosystem Chlorophyll Antenna Size in the Green Microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii upon Deletion of the TLA3-CpSRP43 Gene". Plant Physiology 160 (4): 2251–2260. doi:10.1104/pp.112.206672. ISSN 0032-0889. PMID 23043081.
- Algae: Power Plant of the Future?
- Reengineering Algae To Fuel The Hydrogen Economy
- Yang, Shihui; Guarnieri, Michael T; Smolinski, Sharon; Ghirardi, Maria; Pienkos, Philip T (2013). "De novo transcriptomic analysis of hydrogen production in the green alga Chlamydomonas moewusii through RNA-Seq". Biotechnology for Biofuels 6 (1): 118. doi:10.1186/1754-6834-6-118. ISSN 1754-6834. PMID 23971877.
- Department of Energy report winter 2000
- 2005-The anaerobic life of the photosynthetic alga
- Hydrogen from algae - fuel of the future?
- Surzycki, R.; Cournac, L.; Peltier, G.; Rochaix, J.-D. (2007). "Potential for hydrogen production with inducible chloroplast gene expression in Chlamydomonas". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104 (44): 17548–17553. doi:10.1073/pnas.0704205104. ISSN 0027-8424.
- Kirst H, García-Cerdán JG, Zurbriggen A, Melis A (2012) Assembly of the light-harvesting chlorophyll antenna in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii requires expression of the TLA2-CpFTSY gene. Plant Physiol 158 (2):930-45. DOI:10.1104/pp.111.189910 PMID: 22114096
- Tetali SD, Mitra M, Melis A (2007) Development of the light-harvesting chlorophyll antenna in the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is regulated by the novel Tla1 gene. Planta 225 (4):813-29. DOI:10.1007/s00425-006-0392-z PMID: 16977454
- DOE 2008 Report 25 %
- Iwuchukwu IJ, Vaughn M, Myers N, O'Neill H, Frymier P, Bruce BD (2010) Self-organized photosynthetic nanoparticle for cell-free hydrogen production. Nat Nanotechnol 5 (1):73-9. DOI:10.1038/nnano.2009.315 PMID: 19898496
- Yacoby, I.; Pochekailov, S.; Toporik, H.; Ghirardi, M. L.; King, P. W.; Zhang, S. (2011). "Photosynthetic electron partitioning between [FeFe]-hydrogenase and ferredoxin:NADP+-oxidoreductase (FNR) enzymes in vitro". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 108 (23): 9396–9401. doi:10.1073/pnas.1103659108. ISSN 0027-8424.
- Utschig, Lisa M.; Dimitrijevic, Nada M.; Poluektov, Oleg G.; Chemerisov, Sergey D.; Mulfort, Karen L.; Tiede, David M. (2011). "Photocatalytic Hydrogen Production from Noncovalent Biohybrid Photosystem I/Pt Nanoparticle Complexes". The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 2 (3): 236–241. doi:10.1021/jz101728v. ISSN 1948-7185.
- Utschig, Lisa M.; Silver, Sunshine C.; Mulfort, Karen L.; Tiede, David M. (2011). "Nature-Driven Photochemistry for Catalytic Solar Hydrogen Production: A Photosystem I–Transition Metal Catalyst Hybrid". Journal of the American Chemical Society 133 (41): 16334–16337. doi:10.1021/ja206012r. ISSN 0002-7863. PMID 21923143.
- Algae Could One Day be Major Hydrogen Fuel Source Newswise, Retrieved on June 30, 2008.
- Melis A and Happe T (2001). "Hydrogen Production: Green Algae as a Source of Energy". Plant Physiol. 127 (3): 740–748. doi:10.1104/pp.010498. PMC 1540156. PMID 11706159.
- Hydrogen from microalgae
- Hydral Energy Systems
- Photobiological hydrogen production—prospects and challenges
- 2005-A prospectus for biological H2 production
- Growing hydrogen for the cars of tomorrow
- 2004-Updated Cost Analysis of Photobiological Hydrogen
- 2004- Updated cost analysis of photobiological hydrogen production from chlamydomonas reinhardtii green algae