Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory are tapping a microorganism called Thermatoga neapolitana to produce hydrogen gas that may be used as an alternative fuel source.
Van der Lelie’s group reports that experimental setups using Thermatoga neapolitana bacteria given a simple glucose feedstock can generate copious amounts of hydrogen gas at temperatures between 158 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit at atmospheric to elevated pressure.
One other advantage of using T. neapolitana is that although it is anaerobic, it was able to produce hydrogen most efficiently in a moderately low-oxygen environment. This is a useful trait as it can be very expensive to maintain a completely anaerobic production facility. The researchers believe that their findings may be scaled up for a continuous, farm-based, economical hydrogen production.