Published on February 28th, 2009 | by Jeff Kart0
A toast to the enzyme cocktail
February 28th, 2009 by Jeff Kart
Fuel cells and hydrogen were the buzz for years in U.S. automotive industry, until foreign competitors began making waves with hybrids.
Problems with the H included the high cost of infrastructure and the fossil-fuel energy needed to make hydrogen stations work.
That could change if new research on enzymes is realized. A team of scientists from Virginia Tech, Oak Ridge National Lab and the University of Georgia has developed a way of producing hydrogen gas by combining enzymes and cellulosic materials from non-food sources with good old water, according to a news release.
They heat it up, call it an enzyme cocktail, and say it holds the promise of high-yield production, according to a research paper published in ChemSusChem (for Chemistry and Sustainability).
“Biohydrogen is produced in high yield from cellulosic materials and water in a one-pot process catalyzed by up to 14 enzymes and one coenzyme,” the abstract says.
“This assembly of enzymes results in non-natural catabolic pathways. These spontaneous reactions are conducted under modest reaction conditions (32 °C and atmospheric pressure).”
What do the chemistry folks out there think of this new find? Green Car Congress has quite a discussion going.