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Hydrogen Fuel from Algae

The use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel source isn't exactly a new idea, and while it may take several years before hydrogen fuel systems are pressed into regular service all over the world, initial research and real-world applications of the technology appear to hold a lot of promise.

hydrogen fuel from algae
Now, yet another development in the field of hydrogen fuel technology has come to the forefront, and it involves the use of algae to actually produce the necessary hydrogen.

While producing hydrogen fuel from fossil fuels was the area that initially attracted the most interest from the global community, it was only fairly recently that the use of photosynthetic microorganisms such as algae were considered viable and/or practical. Much of the initial research efforts into these technologies involve the use of green algae as virtual hydrogen factories.

Among the other types of algae used in hydrogen fuel production are blue-green algae and Hawaiian algae. At present, countries such as Germany and Australia have made remarkable strides in coming up with various technologies in this field, with algae solutions and algae balloons being some of the promising.

But some of the most important developments in recent years have to do with what is called the Pyrolysis Steam Reforming or PyStR process, as heralded by the Energy Quest company working out of Henderson, Nevada. This revolutionary process basically involves using algae and other types of biomass to produce hydrogen fuel.

One of the most interesting things about this new technology is that the process not only produces extremely pure commercial grade hydrogen, but it also yields substantial amounts of high grade carbon dioxide and nitrogen, both of which can be sold or utilized for various other purposes. And of course, the hydrogen itself can be used as a power source for car engines as well as stationary fuel cells.

At present, Energy Quest is currently involved in efforts to grow a certain strain of algae that requires more carbon dioxide than is present in the air. Because of these and other algae growing initiatives, it is expected that the algae farming holds a lot of promise as a future growth industry, particularly since algae only needs water, sunlight and adequate amounts of carbon dioxide (which is quite abundant in the atmosphere) in order to thrive.

While there is no way to tell for certain at this point in time, we may yet see the rise of algae farming as algae lucrative alternative to traditional farming of crops such as corn, wheat, and soybean. At the very least, farmers may consider growing algae along with these traditional crops.

In a world gone crazy for anything and everything "organic", hydrogen fuel-particularly if derived from algae-is showing incredible promise. The day when hydrogen fuel comes into widespread use may be a while off yet, but all signs point to it coming in the very near future.

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