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Researchers Develop Method for Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Biomass at High Yields
www.greencarcongress.com ^ | 05/23/2007 | Staff

Posted on 05/23/2007 11:46:25 AM PDT by Red Badger

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 from biomass.

Applying the principles of synthetic biology, the researchers use a combination of 13 enzymes to form an unnatural enzymatic pathway to completely convert polysaccharides—e.g., starch and cellulose—and water into hydrogen at a yield higher than the theoretical yield of biological hydrogen fermentations. Their work is described in the 23 May issue of PLoS ONE, the online, open-access journal from the Public Library of Science.

he synthetic metabolic pathway for conversion of polysaccharides and water to hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

Hydrogen production from either 2 mM G-6-P or 2 mM starch (glucose equivalent) using the new method.

Starch is a high energy-density carrier, with 14.8 H2-based mass%. (The DOE long-term target for hydrogen storage is 12 mass%.) The enzymes, when added to the biomass solution, use the energy in the polysaccharides to break the water up into carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

A membrane bleeds off the carbon dioxide and the hydrogen is used by a fuel cell to create electricity. The water byproduct is recycled for the starch-water reactor. Laboratory tests confirm that it all takes place at low temperature—30° C—and atmospheric pressure. The researchers estimated the cost of hydrogen production using their method of approximately $2/kg.

The stoichiometric reaction is:

C6H10O5 (l) + 7 H2O (l) → 12 H2 (g)+6 CO2 (g)

The overall process is spontaneous and unidirectional because of a negative Gibbs free energy and separation of the gaseous products with the aqueous reactants.

The vision is for the ingredients to be mixed in the fuel tank of a car. A car with an approximately 12-gallon tank could hold 27 kg of starch, which is the equivalent of 4 kg of hydrogen. One kg of starch will produce the same energy output as 1.12 kg (0.38 gallons) of gasoline.

The research was based on earlier work by Y.H. Percival Zhang, assistant professor of biological systems engineering at Virginia Tech pertaining to cellulosic ethanol production (earlier post) and the ORNL and University of Georgia researchers' work with enzymatic hydrogen production.

One of the team, Michael W.W. Adams of the University of Georgia UGA, is co-author of the first enzymatic hydrogen paper in Nature Biotechnology in 1996. The researchers were certain they could combine the processes.

In nature, most hydrogen is produced from anaerobic fermentation. But hydrogen, along with acetic acid, is a co-product and the hydrogen yield is pretty low—only four molecules per molecule of glucose. In our process, hydrogen is the main product and hydrogen yields are three-times higher, and the likely production costs are low—about $1 per pound of hydrogen.

What is more important, the energy conversion efficiency from the sugar-hydrogen-fuel cell system is extremely high—greater than three times higher than a sugar-ethanol-internal combustion engine. It means that if about 30 percent of transportation fuel can be replaced by ethanol from biomass as the DOE proposed, the same amount of biomass will be sufficient to provide 100 percent of vehicle transportation fuel through this technology. —Y.H. Percival Zhang

The next step for the team is to increase reaction rates and reduce enzyme costs.

Resources:

*

“High-Yield Hydrogen Production from Starch and Water by a Synthetic Enzymatic Pathway”; Y.H. Percival Zhang, Barbara R. Evans, Jonathan R. Mielenz, Robert C. Hopkins, Michael W.W. Adams; PLoS ONE 2(5): e456. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000456


TOPICS: Business/Economy; News/Current Events; Technical
KEYWORDS: automobile; biomass; energy; fuel; hydrogen

Rest In Peace, old friend, your work is finished.......

If you want on or off the DIESEL "KnOcK" LIST just FReepmail me........

This is a fairly HIGH VOLUME ping list on some days......

MAYBE THEY CAN TWEAK IT TO MAKE BIODIESEL?.......

1 posted on 05/23/2007 11:46:28 AM PDT by Red Badger
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To: sully777; Fierce Allegiance; vigl; Cagey; Abathar; A. Patriot; B Knotts; getsoutalive; ...

Hydrogen from Biomass PING!.......


2 posted on 05/23/2007 11:46:54 AM PDT by Red Badger (My gerund got caught in my diphthong, and now I have a dangling participle...............)
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To: Red Badger
We'll still be burning agricultural products, which will drive up the cost of food.
3 posted on 05/23/2007 11:50:00 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder." --Frederic Bastiat)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

So, we’ll be really skinny people driving hydrogen powered SUV’S!..............


4 posted on 05/23/2007 11:51:02 AM PDT by Red Badger (My gerund got caught in my diphthong, and now I have a dangling participle...............)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

We don’t eat every source of biomass.


5 posted on 05/23/2007 11:55:31 AM PDT by P-40 (Al Qaeda was working in Iraq. They were just undocumented.)
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To: Red Badger
So, we’ll be really skinny people driving hydrogen powered SUV’S!..............

Yeah. Screw the people who starve. They deserve it.

http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/18173/

6 posted on 05/23/2007 11:58:26 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder." --Frederic Bastiat)
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To: Red Badger

But if you look at the redox reaction, it yields 6 parts CO2 - oh no!

The enviro-wankers will be all up in arms!

Arghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!


7 posted on 05/23/2007 11:59:33 AM PDT by roaddog727 (BullS##t does not get bridges built)
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To: Red Badger

Maybe they could even create a proton gradient across a membrane that would power fast-rotating proteins that produce energetic molecules to be used in cellular respiration.


8 posted on 05/23/2007 11:59:35 AM PDT by SteveMcKing
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To: P-40
We don’t eat every source of biomass.

Every source of biomass is grown on land and by methods that are used to grow food.

Devote more of that land to fuel production, and less of it is devoted to food production.

Econ 101.

9 posted on 05/23/2007 12:00:13 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder." --Frederic Bastiat)
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To: RedStateRocker; Dementon; eraser2005; Calpernia; DTogo; Maelstrom; Yehuda; babble-on; ...
Renewable Energy Ping

Please Freep Mail me if you'd like on/off

10 posted on 05/23/2007 12:03:11 PM PDT by Uncledave
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Do you know how much land could be growing something like switch grass without any change in tilled land at all?


11 posted on 05/23/2007 12:05:12 PM PDT by P-40 (Al Qaeda was working in Iraq. They were just undocumented.)
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To: Red Badger
A car with an approximately 12-gallon tank could hold 27 kg of starch, which is the equivalent of 4 kg of hydrogen. One kg of starch will produce the same energy output as 1.12 kg (0.38 gallons) of gasoline.

If my math's right, this is the equivalent of 1.5 gallons of gas?

12 posted on 05/23/2007 12:05:34 PM PDT by Uncledave
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To: P-40
Do you know how much land could be growing something like switch grass without any change in tilled land at all?

Yeah, forests and prairies are worthless. Let's plow up everything.

13 posted on 05/23/2007 12:09:25 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder." --Frederic Bastiat)
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To: Uncledave

0.38 gge (gallon of gasoline equivalent) per kg of starch. 27 kg would be 10.26 gge.


14 posted on 05/23/2007 12:12:28 PM PDT by Jack of all Trades (Liberalism: replacing backbones with wishbones.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

I’d be better than putting condos on it.


15 posted on 05/23/2007 12:12:37 PM PDT by P-40 (Al Qaeda was working in Iraq. They were just undocumented.)
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To: SteveMcKing

Don’t hold your breath........


16 posted on 05/23/2007 12:13:28 PM PDT by Red Badger (My gerund got caught in my diphthong, and now I have a dangling participle...............)
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To: Uncledave

Sounds right...........


17 posted on 05/23/2007 12:14:22 PM PDT by Red Badger (My gerund got caught in my diphthong, and now I have a dangling participle...............)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum
But if you look at the redox reaction, it yields 6 parts CO2 - oh no!

The CO2 comes out of the air when the plant is grown, then returns to the air when the plant is burned or digested.

No net increase in CO2.

The problem, if such it is, arises when fossil fuels are burned, as they add net CO2 to the air.

18 posted on 05/23/2007 12:18:19 PM PDT by Sherman Logan (I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.)
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To: P-40

And waste products aren’t necessarily useless or even lower value. See what mash from the ethanol production process does for cattle.


19 posted on 05/23/2007 12:19:29 PM PDT by eraser2005
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To: Red Badger

Our County Board of Supervisors declared our local National Forests a public nuisance due to fire and forest health dangers from heavy overgrowth and lack of forest management. We have miles of forests with small diameter trees as far as the eye can see that need serious thining. The costs of fuel reduction/thining without an offset are tremendous. The alternative is the costs of fighting rampant wildland fires, which is also tremendous.

Idea- lets use that biomass to produce much needed energy and offset the cost of thining. Wow - and it wouldn’t even affect our food supply. We could even use some of it to fuel heating and electrical costs of public facilities like schools and courthouses. There are even systems that are enclosed and have zero emissions.


20 posted on 05/23/2007 12:20:03 PM PDT by marsh2
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To: eraser2005

And some places even pay you to take their waste products. :)


21 posted on 05/23/2007 12:21:03 PM PDT by P-40 (Al Qaeda was working in Iraq. They were just undocumented.)
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To: Red Badger

I’d appreciate some help from someone better at chemistry than I am. (Which ain’t hard.)

Are they trying to say that the starch is completely converted to CO2 and hydrogen? That there is no solid or liquid residue left at all?


22 posted on 05/23/2007 12:21:20 PM PDT by Sherman Logan (I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.)
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To: Sherman Logan

You replied to the wrong person.


23 posted on 05/23/2007 12:21:29 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder." --Frederic Bastiat)
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To: P-40

And cornstalks are biomass...

Couldn’t you also use a crop chosen for nitrogen fixation for biomass production, rotating it with other crops to help improve soil conditions?


24 posted on 05/23/2007 12:24:28 PM PDT by eraser2005
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To: eraser2005

We used to plant a winter crop of legumes to ‘fix’ the nitrogen in the soil and then would plow it under for the humus. We could have done a summer crop of cotton and then a winter crop of beans but the beans weren’t worth the price to harvest. Fertilizer was expensive when we were doing this so the free nitrogen and humus, not to mention the soil cover, offset the cost of planting beans.


25 posted on 05/23/2007 12:27:48 PM PDT by P-40 (Al Qaeda was working in Iraq. They were just undocumented.)
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To: Sherman Logan

Water byproduct, but otherwise, it looks like all gas!.........


26 posted on 05/23/2007 12:28:07 PM PDT by Red Badger (My gerund got caught in my diphthong, and now I have a dangling participle...............)
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To: P-40
We used to plant a winter crop of legumes to ‘fix’ the nitrogen in the soil and then would plow it under for the humus.

Chick Peas make a great hummus............

27 posted on 05/23/2007 12:29:50 PM PDT by Red Badger (My gerund got caught in my diphthong, and now I have a dangling participle...............)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Sorry!


28 posted on 05/23/2007 12:30:43 PM PDT by Sherman Logan (I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.)
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To: P-40

MMMMMMMMMMM!....HUMMUS!...........

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hummus

29 posted on 05/23/2007 12:31:15 PM PDT by Red Badger (My gerund got caught in my diphthong, and now I have a dangling participle...............)
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To: Red Badger

Ha! I knew I should not have skipped lunch! That extra ‘m’ makes all the difference. :)


30 posted on 05/23/2007 12:31:51 PM PDT by P-40 (Al Qaeda was working in Iraq. They were just undocumented.)
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To: Red Badger

Thanks. I was envisioning the buildup of some kind of sludge in the gas tank, and trying to figure out how you’d go about cleaning it out. :)


31 posted on 05/23/2007 12:32:11 PM PDT by Sherman Logan (I didn't claw my way to the top of the food chain to be a vegetarian.)
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To: P-40

I make my own hummus. Storebought just don’t taste right........


32 posted on 05/23/2007 12:33:48 PM PDT by Red Badger (My gerund got caught in my diphthong, and now I have a dangling participle...............)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Sewage would also be biomass.

And not particularly tasty.


33 posted on 05/23/2007 12:34:24 PM PDT by BJClinton (WWBJCD?)
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To: Red Badger

I make my own humus....and the plants seem to find it tasty. :)


34 posted on 05/23/2007 12:35:28 PM PDT by P-40 (Al Qaeda was working in Iraq. They were just undocumented.)
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To: BJClinton

I was thinking the same thing. This would basically be a sh!t eating, fart producing hydro machine suitable for putting at the city dump and sewage treatment facilities.


35 posted on 05/23/2007 12:51:30 PM PDT by Kevmo (Duncan Hunter just needs one Rudy G Campaign Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVBtPIrEleM)
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To: Red Badger

Controlling the reaction seems to be an issue. If you fill ‘er up with starch, you immediately start producing hydrogen. There needs to be a way to draw it off and store it (compressed?) even when the vehicle isn’t powered up.

What happens if you don’t get pure enough starch or enzymes, or you get the ratios mixed up? You slow down the reaction and could run out of fuel, even though you’ve got some in the tank. Lots of issues here, I think. But a nice start!


36 posted on 05/23/2007 12:57:42 PM PDT by Bat_Chemist (I was on a roll, and then the backspin kicked in...)
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To: Kevmo
This would basically be a sh!t eating, fart producing hydro machine

It would make for the perfect road trip car. No need for pit stops.
37 posted on 05/23/2007 1:20:10 PM PDT by BJClinton (WWBJCD?)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Non-comestible biomass can be grown on terrain unsuitable for food crops. A great deal of lumber is harvested from such terrain.


38 posted on 05/23/2007 2:00:25 PM PDT by Buckhead
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To: Bat_Chemist
"Controlling the reaction seems to be an issue. If you fill ‘er up with starch, you immediately start producing hydrogen. There needs to be a way to draw it off and store it (compressed?) even when the vehicle isn’t powered up."

Forgive my naivete, but it looks like the enzyme reaction, freeing the Hydrogen molecules, takes place in the Phase #3 portion of the process. This may provide a natural petcock point for shutting down the reaction by denying fuel.

Remembering that this is conceived as a fuel cell application, not combustion, the fuel cell could still receive excess Hydrogen ions from the ongoing reaction.

What's left, if there is still excess could either be contained at low pressure, or drawn off onto the grid or a storage battery.

Perhaps I only prove that ignoraqnce is bliss, eh?

39 posted on 05/23/2007 2:07:36 PM PDT by shamusotoole
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To: Buckhead
My plans are for the artificial sunflower standing on a rotating stalk around the 4 corners area...NM, CO, AZ, UT, where there is ample unusable land.

The Sunflower’s petals hold glass coils of photosynthetic algae and the resulting “sugars” are siphoned off. It also uses very little added water, which might become the next limiting quantity.

40 posted on 05/23/2007 2:22:11 PM PDT by Battle Axe (Repent for the coming of the Lord is nigh!)
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To: Bat_Chemist
"What happens if you don’t get pure enough starch or enzymes, or you get the ratios mixed up? You slow down the reaction and could run out of fuel, even though you’ve got some in the tank. Lots of issues here, I think. But a nice start!"

To me, the biggest problem would be that the enzymes, being a living organism would die, if deprived of food. The Hydrogen producer enzymes would need to be introduced/reintroduced/activated in Phase #3 of the Process Chart.

I can envision a starch being sold to the consumer that would have gone through phases #1 & #2 already, represented by (6 G6P) on the Chart, to which the Government would add highway taxes at the pump. The Phosphorilase and Phosphoglucomitase Enzymes might be dead of starvation, but who would care? They have already done their thing.

If what I am thinking is BS, I will need a Mulligan.

41 posted on 05/23/2007 2:59:12 PM PDT by shamusotoole
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To: Buckhead

I tip my hat in respect and appreciation for your past deeds.


42 posted on 05/23/2007 3:04:09 PM PDT by shamusotoole
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To: shamusotoole
2 points:

1. I have forgotten all the organic and inorganic chemistry I studied in H.S., but am willing to accept the above.

2. If the enzymes are expensive - it’s probably because they have significant energy costs in their production (or maybe there is an enzyme cartel out there...)

43 posted on 05/23/2007 4:14:32 PM PDT by Wally_Kalbacken (Seldom right but never in doubt)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

You’ve eaten algae lately?

Just because there’s a million posts saying biomass this or biomass that...there’s quite a bit of chose. Not all of them have to be corn, sugar, etc.


44 posted on 05/23/2007 11:30:46 PM PDT by Rick_Michael (Fred Thompson)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

” Every source of biomass is grown on land and by methods that are used to grow food.

Devote more of that land to fuel production, and less of it is devoted to food production.

Econ 101.”

Right for the very few posts described on FR...which is mostly a political bias.

Wrong for the full context, and for those whom investigate the issue without care of political leaning.

Algae can be grown in the desert, and consumes an incredibly small amount of land [for high production]. Since cost are too high, it’s not yet viable....although it’s getting there. But once the method is done at a cost-efficiency, it could feed on carbon emissions (straight from coal plants), and water types don’t necessarily need to be salt-free.


45 posted on 05/23/2007 11:39:35 PM PDT by Rick_Michael (Fred Thompson)
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To: shamusotoole
Right, the problem is How to deny fuel to that step. If the reactions all occur in the same vessel (are they dumping ingredients in a gas tank and getting H2?), then you can't just selectively remove one particular component. If the reactions are being done separately, how are they transferring the product of one reaction to the place the next reaction occurs without also taking the enzyme?

They have a nice diagram, but it's a gross oversimplification. Still, I always thought enzymatic catalyzation was the way to go.

46 posted on 05/24/2007 5:01:07 AM PDT by Bat_Chemist (I was on a roll, and then the backspin kicked in...)
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To: shamusotoole

Enzymes aren’t organisms, they’re chemicals that help a reaction go forward. Catalysts. (Here’s your mulligan.)

The issue here is reaction rates. If all of this stuff is poured together in a “gas tank” and allowed to react, then the concentrations become so small that the production of H2 is greatly slowed because the each step’s reactants won’t “hook up” (to use a simple term) often enough to rapidly make the product necessary for the next step. If each reaction takes place in a successive vessel, then the issue becomes separation of the product from the enzymes to transfer it to the next vessel, which requires putting additional work into the system.

I hope I’m helping and not just thumping you on the head with chemistry...


47 posted on 05/24/2007 5:08:42 AM PDT by Bat_Chemist (I was on a roll, and then the backspin kicked in...)
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To: Bat_Chemist

Merci for the mercy!


48 posted on 05/25/2007 1:51:05 AM PDT by shamusotoole
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To: AdmSmith; Berosus; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Fedora; Fred Nerks; ...
Ping!
49 posted on 05/26/2007 2:19:13 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Time heals all wounds, particularly when they're not yours. Profile updated May 26, 2007.)
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