Solar-driven hydrogen production in green algae
- Publication Type:
- Journal Article
- 2011, 75 pp. 71 - 110
- Issue Date:
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The twin problems of energy security and global warming make hydrogen an attractive alternative to traditional fossil fuels with its combustion resulting only in the release of water vapor. Biological hydrogen production represents a renewable source of the gas and can be performed by a diverse range of microorganisms from strict anaerobic bacteria to eukaryotic green algae. Compared to conventional methods for generating H 2 , biological systems can operate at ambient temperatures and pressures without the need for rare metals and could potentially be coupled to a variety of biotechnological processes ranging from desalination and waste water treatment to pharmaceutical production. Photobiological hydrogen production by microalgae is particularly attractive as the main inputs for the process (water and solar energy) are plentiful. This chapter focuses on recent developments in solar-driven H 2 production in green algae with emphasis on the model organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. We review the current methods used to achieve sustained H 2 evolution and discuss possible approaches to improve H 2 yields, including the optimization of culturing conditions, reducing light-harvesting antennae and targeting auxiliary electron transport and fermentative pathways that compete with the hydrogenase for reductant. Finally, industrial scale-up is discussed in the context of photobioreactor design and the future prospects of the field are considered within the broader context of a biorefinery concept. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.
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