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.
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
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.