Effect of Process Variables on Photosynthetic Algal Hydrogen Production

John J. Hahn, Maria L. Ghirardi, William A. Jacoby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus Citations


Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a green alga that can use the sun's energy to split water into O2 and H2. This is accomplished by means of a two-phase cycle, an aerobic growth phase followed by an anaerobic hydrogen production phase. The effects of process variables on hydrogen production are examined here. These variables include cell concentration, light intensity, and reactor design parameters that affect light transport and mixing. An optimum cell concentration and light intensity are identified, and two reactor designs are compared. The maximum hydrogen production observed in this study was 0.29 mL of hydrogen per milliliter of suspension. This was measured at atmospheric pressure during a 96 h production cycle. This corresponds to an average hydrogen production rate of 0.12 mmol/mL·h.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)989-991
Number of pages3
JournalBiotechnology Progress
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-590-36903


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