Researchers Generate Hydrogen from Biomass With a 100% Net Gain of Energy

The concept of producing hydrogen from biomass is certainly not a new idea, but past efforts have been too expensive or produced too little hydrogen (or both) to be viable as a source of electricity. Now, a team of researchers using biomass have successfully generated hydrogen from xylose using the "Virginia Tech method" that results in a 100 percent net gain of energy, produces small quantities of greenhouse gas emissions and doesn't require the use of specialized and expensive metals.

According to researcher Y. H. Percival Zhang, an associate professor of biological engineering (pictured on the right), this "technique could help end the human race’s dependence on fossil fuels" and has an estimated market arrival time of just three years.

Though details on the Virginia Tech method are still under wraps, it is known that the process involves pulling enzymes from micro-organisms and combining them with xylose and a polyphosphate. Once these components are combined, hydrogen can be extracted at relatively low temperatures.

When we consider the phenomenal efficiency of the process and that xylose is the second most abundant sugar found in plants, we may all have the ability to power our homes and gardens and launch the era of carbon-neutral gaming by the end of this decade.

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  • leakingpaint
    How many articles do we see of revolutionary technologies that will be ready soon only to never see them in the mainstream. I really really really hope this works without the big companies screwing everything up because of their greed.
  • Soda-88
    Something tells me that oil/gas companies won't appreciate this.
  • clifdweller
    santeana - of course the ca law wasn't passed. government can't tell a business to produce something ( except china maybe) that would be like telling walmart they have to sell rehydrated prunes in all their stores. As far as hydrogen cars go yes they are simple to build but the cost ofthe hydrogen itself is to high, which by the way is what the virginia tech method is addressing. There are 2 main ways to get hydrogen, one uses electricity through patinum wires which is 68 - 82% efficent. this means more energy(prduced from fossil fuels) is used producing the hydrogen than they get back. The other method involves catalysts whic pring it up to 92- ~ 103% return but the catalysts are some nasty stuff that make nuclear waste look harmless(as in a gallon would pollute all of los angeles' drinking water supply). this new method would be revolutionary with 100% gain and using enzymes which means they should be safe and biodegradable. I hope it pans out
  • Other Comments
  • Soda-88
    Something tells me that oil/gas companies won't appreciate this.
  • leakingpaint
    How many articles do we see of revolutionary technologies that will be ready soon only to never see them in the mainstream. I really really really hope this works without the big companies screwing everything up because of their greed.
  • clifdweller
    santeana - of course the ca law wasn't passed. government can't tell a business to produce something ( except china maybe) that would be like telling walmart they have to sell rehydrated prunes in all their stores. As far as hydrogen cars go yes they are simple to build but the cost ofthe hydrogen itself is to high, which by the way is what the virginia tech method is addressing. There are 2 main ways to get hydrogen, one uses electricity through patinum wires which is 68 - 82% efficent. this means more energy(prduced from fossil fuels) is used producing the hydrogen than they get back. The other method involves catalysts whic pring it up to 92- ~ 103% return but the catalysts are some nasty stuff that make nuclear waste look harmless(as in a gallon would pollute all of los angeles' drinking water supply). this new method would be revolutionary with 100% gain and using enzymes which means they should be safe and biodegradable. I hope it pans out