A clever bunch in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have designed a new process which could eventually lead to production of hydrogen using bioengineered microorganisms. Yep, that’s right; algae may soon fuel your vehicle!
Many kinds of algae and common water-dwelling microorganisms are capable of using energy from sunlight to split water molecules and release hydrogen, which holds promise as a clean and carbon-free fuel for the future.
Normally, algae prefer to produce compounds such as sugar that they need to survive, the hydrogen they are capable of producing is merely a by-product. However some clever folk have found a way to use bioengineered proteins to flip this preference, allowing more hydrogen to be produced. (No, we don’t understand it either, so as long as it works!).
This project and this method of fuel production is simple enough that it has promise in both industrialised and in developing countries.
This is certainly a notable break through. The concept of using hydrogen fuel cells has always been hindered by our ability to create the hydrogen needed. If this project can be industrialised, it would revolutionise, the fuel industry and probably the world by making oil redundant and fuel viably renewable.