Chapter 12: In Vitro Light-Driven Hydrogen Production

Carolyn E. Lubner, Katherine A. Brown, David W. Mulder, Michael W. Ratzloff, Paul W. King

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In this chapter, we review some of the different approaches to integrate biological hydrogen-activating enzymes, or hydrogenases, as catalysts with both natural and chemical light-harvesting, and charge-separation systems. The transformation of photon energy into chemical bond energy has long been viewed as a renewable and sustainable route to the generation of reduced chemical compounds for use as fuels and other products. Biology accomplishes this process, known as photosynthesis, through the function of supramolecular assemblies that capture light to generate electrochemical gradients that are used to power enzymatic reactions. Some of the fundamental physical and photochemical principles of photosynthetic reactions are being found to also control how chemically derived light-absorbing molecules couple to reduction-oxidation catalysts. We will summarize examples of the work being conducted towards the evolution of functional, solar-based molecular systems; the scientific challenges to developing efficient conversion; and the broader understanding and insights that are emerging for coupling molecules and assemblies to achieve solar-driven fuel production.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationMicroalgal Hydrogen Production: Achievements and Perspectives
Subtitle of host publicationComprehensive Series in Photochemical and Photobiology, Volume 16
EditorsMichael Seibert, Giuseppe Torzillo
PublisherRoyal Society of Chemistry
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9781849736725
StatePublished - 2018

Publication series

NameComprehensive Series in Photochemical and Photobiological Sciences
ISSN (Print)2041-9716
ISSN (Electronic)2041-9724

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© European Society for Photobiology 2018.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CH-2700-68484


  • catalysts
  • charge separation
  • hydrogen-activating enzymes
  • hydrogenases
  • light harvesting


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