Abstract

Hydrogen gas provides exceptional value as an energy carrier and industrial feedstock, but currently is produced entirely by reforming fossil fuels. Biological hydrogen production (BioH2), which offers the possibility of being renewable and carbon neutral, can be achieved by photosynthesis, fermentation, and microbial electrolysis cells. This review introduces the principles, advantages and challenges of each approach to BioH2. Photosynthetic BioH2 is the ultimate renewable source, since it directly uses inexhaustible resources: sunlight energy and electrons from H2O. However, it presents major technical challenges, particularly due to oxygen sensitivity. Fermentative BioH2 offers a high production rate, but poor conversion efficiency from the organic substrate to H2. The microbial electrolysis cell can achieve high conversion efficiency, but is an emerging technology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-271
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Biotechnology
Volume28
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2010

Fingerprint

Regenerative fuel cells
Electrolysis
Hydrogen production
Conversion efficiency
Hydrogen
Fossil Fuels
Photosynthesis
Sunlight
Energy resources
Reforming reactions
Fossil fuels
Fermentation
Feedstocks
Carbon
Gases
Electrons
Oxygen
Technology
Substrates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering

Cite this

Biological hydrogen production : Prospects and challenges. / Lee, Hyung Sool; Vermaas, Willem; Rittmann, Bruce.

In: Trends in Biotechnology, Vol. 28, No. 5, 05.2010, p. 262-271.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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