Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Efficient production of hydrogen by algae

18.08.2014

Microalgae need only sunlight and water for the production of hydrogen.

However, in order to make hydrogen production by microalgae economically feasible their efficiency has to be increased by 1-2 orders of magnitude. In the current issue of Energy and Environmental Science scientists from the AG Photobiotechnology of the Ruhr University Bochum and the Max Planck Institutes in Mülheim present how an improvement in efficiency can be achieved.


Electrontransfer in the alga C. reinhardtii, that leads to the production of hydrogen or other substances. Hase = Hydrogenase. © MPI CEC / RUB

Microalgae use light-energy to extract electrons from water during photosynthesis. Most of these electrons are transported by a small, iron-containing protein, the ferredoxin PETF, to the protein ferredoxin-NADP+-oxidoreductase (FNR), which feeds the electrons into the production chain of carbohydrates.

PETF passes only a small fraction of the electrons to other proteins like the Hydrogenase. This protein is a very powerful enzyme, whose amino acid chain harbours a unique six-iron cluster, in which electrons (e-) are transferred to protons (H+) to produce hydrogen (H2).

Using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) the scientists investigated in great detail which amino acids of PETF interact with Hydrogenase and which with FNR. Thereby they identified two amino acids of PETF with negatively charged side chains that are ex-clusively important for binding FNR.

The directed genetic modification of exactly those two residues to amino acids with uncharged side chains led to an increased production of hy-drogen. Together with further modifications of the FNR this resulted in a five-fold increased rate for hydrogen production.

The knowledge-based change of electron transfer pathways has the potential to make fur-ther enhancements of hydrogen production possible. The efficiency necessary for an eco-nomic application of biological hydrogen production can probably be achieved by the com-bination of different modifications.

Thus, the presented results are important for the devel-opment of an environmentally friendly, regenerative energy supply that does not depend on expensive and rare noble metals.

Further information
The link to the publication in Energy and Environmental Science:
http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2014/ee/c4ee01444h

Dr. Sigrun Rumpel, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Tel. 0208/306­3895, sigrun.rumpel@cec.mpg.de, www.cec.mpg.de

Dr. Martin Winkler, Lehrstuhl für Biochemie der Pflanzen, Ruhr Universität, 44780 Bochum, Tel. 0234/32­27049, martin.winkler-2@rub.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.cec.mpg.de/media/Presse/2014/PM_EES_english_SR_ER_WL_final_es.pdf

Esther Schlamann | Max-Planck-Institut

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cell mechanism discovered that may cause pancreatic cancer
28.01.2015 | University of Utah Health Sciences

nachricht Game Theory Explains Social Interactions of Cancer Cells
28.01.2015 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Better prospects through equal opportunity

26.01.2015 | Event News

2000 Erziehungswissenschaftler an der Uni Kassel erwartet

19.01.2015 | Event News

How are Europe’s landscapes influenced by the changing energy sector?

19.01.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

No direct link found between rising inequality and reduced trust

28.01.2015 | Social Sciences

Pilotless Aircraft Will Play Critical Roles in Precision Agriculture

28.01.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Supercomputing the evolution of a model flower

28.01.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>