Hydrogen Fuel Production from Microalgae

Critical residues for O₂ sensitivity will be determined that will allow the design of potential mutations for improving enzyme tolerance to O₂. The system for inducible production of hydrogenases in microalgae will be optimized. This system will be used in the future to introduce the best engineered hydrogenase variants into microalgae for developing a strain for light induced H₂ production. H₂ utilization by use of a fuel cell will be determined, and knowledge of any required gas conditioning established. These outcomes will enable to probe for mutations minimizing inactivation of hydrogenases by O₂ and to achieve the overall goal. Further, prospective hydrogenase variants for improving resistance to the presence of O₂ will be created within two years. Improved strains of microalgae capable of producing H₂ in the presence of O₂ will be developed in next three years. The economical and scalable process for algae cultivation and H₂ utilization and a microalgae/H₂ /fuel cell system will be developed simultaneously. Design of a hydrogenase with increased resistance to O₂ will greatly improve the process of H₂ production in microalgae. Production of lowcost H₂ biofuels will accelerate the transition to a hydrogen economy and help to eliminate US dependence on foreign oil and create many new jobs. The project team will develop industrial scale production of microalgae through utilization of cheap pond-based systems. Therefore, there will be no competition between "biofuels crops" and food crops. First, pond-based systems can utilize marginal soils. Second, use of microalgae for biofuels will remove social controversy caused by use of corn and similar food grains that divert these commodities from food for humans and livestock. Moreover, H₂ can be also converted locally into electricity or used to produce ammonia fertilizer which is required in hundreds of millions of tons.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Program Information: Advanced Research, Biobased Research


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    Department of Transportation
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Johnson, Shawn

  • Performing Organizations:

    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

    Agricultural Center
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Principal Investigators:

    Oard, Svetiana

  • Start Date: 20110701
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20111231
  • Source Data: RiP Project 31384

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01572200
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Department of Transportation
  • Files: RiP
  • Created Date: Aug 4 2015 1:00AM