Generation and Use of Biohydrogen

Anne Bornkessel, Jiexia Chen

project report

Natural gas, oil, petrol and coal have become essential for our energy supply. Currently, natural gas is still relatively cheap in comparison to other fossil fuels, however, also gas will run out eventually. Energy has become a dominant topic on the news. Recent problems with Russia as an energy supplier have also brought the German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the conclusion that we should become independent from fossil fuels from other countries. While the politicians are still arguing about the perfect source of energy, it is clear to us that the new energy source must be hydrogen.

Hydrogen has many advantages. It is the most common element on earth, it can be converted to electrical energy using fuel cells and it is the most environmentally friendly fuel that we know.

One might ask why we decided to work with algae of microscopic size. We knew that humans will eventually destroy the environment with exhaust if nothing is done about burning fossil fuels. Apart from being poisonous, exhaust contains carbon dioxide, which leads to global warming.

Our algae produce valuable and clean energy in form of hydrogen under natural conditions. Green algae are unicellular plants that multiply quickly through cell division and thus they are almost inexhaustible. The tiny algae produce a surprising amount of hydrogen. Furthermore, in contrast to fossil fuels, the algae only need solar energy, i.e. light, and a sulfur-containing nutrient solution in order to grow.

Of course, there are also other renewable forms of energy, such as solar and wind energy, ... . Why should we choose biohydrogen from green algae?

  1. They do not cause harmful emissions.
  2. They are inexhaustible.
  3. They do not make noise.
  4. The production of biohydrogen does not consume much energy.

Algae growth and lab work had to be done with simple means as our school does not have the kind of equipment that is available to universities.

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