Scientists devise Cheap Way of Producing Hydrogen Fuel from Abundantly-Available Corn Stover

Scientists devise Cheap Way of Producing Hydrogen Fuel from Abundantly-Available

According to scientists, they have developed an inexpensive method of producing hydrogen fuel from abundantly-available corn stover, the stalks, cobs, and husks.

As per the researchers, the biological method for producing hydrogen fuel greatly decreases the time and money it takes to make the zero-emissions fuel. There is a possibility that this discovery might aid to speed up the widespread arrival of hydrogen-powered cars in a method that is cheap and has very low carbon emissions.

The findings have been reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Professor Percival Zhang, who works at Virginia Tech's Department of Biological Systems Engineering, said that the discovery is an essential step toward a hydrogen economy.

"Although it is difficult to predict cost at this point, this work represents revolutionary approach that offers many new advantages. These researchers have certainly broadened scope of our thinking about metabolism and how it plays into future of alternative energy production", said Lonnie O. Ingram, director of the Florida Center for Renewable Chemicals and Fuels at the University of Florida.

The team of the researchers has significant funding for the next step of the project that is to increase production to a demonstration size. According to researchers, the objective was to make hydrogen yields from xylose that had been achievable in theory but never attempted in practice. The team of the researchers made use of dirty biomass in order to create their fuel.

A genetic algorithm and a series of complex mathematical expressions has been used by the researchers in order to examine each step of the enzymatic process that breaks down the corn stover into CO2 and hydrogen. It has been confirmed that this system make use of sugars, xylose and glucose at the same time.