Algal Hydrogen Production -- Stand Alone or Integrated System?

Maria Ghirardi, Pin-Ching Maness, Sergey Kosourovo

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Photosynthetic bacteria and green algae photoproduce H2. but do so utilizing different catalysts and substrates. Green algae use reductant generate mostly by water oxidation to catalyze the reduction of protons to H2 gas, while photosynthetic bacteria catalyze H2 production from organic acids using the nitrogenase enzyme. Moreover, these two organisms utilize different regions of the solar spectrum to perform photosynthesis: green algae's light harvesting antenna is comprised of chlorophyll molecules that absorb mostly blue and red light; photosynthetic bacteria harvest blue and far-red light through their light-harvesting pigments to run its non-oxygenic photosynthetic reactions. There is thus an opportunity to increase the range of solar spectrum used to photoproduce H2 by combining the light-harvesting and catalytic properties of these two organisms in a single process. In the current manuscript, we describe an experimental system that validates this hypothesis and demonstrates quantitatively the advantages of a two organism process for production of higher amounts of H2 and thus achieving solar light conversion efficiencies.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 2016
Event16th International Biotechnology Symposium and Exhibition - Fortaleza, Ceara, Brazil
Duration: 14 Sep 201419 Sep 2014


Conference16th International Biotechnology Symposium and Exhibition
CityFortaleza, Ceara, Brazil

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-2700-66219


  • alga
  • hydrogen
  • photobioreactor
  • photosynthetic bacteria


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