Advanced Authentic Research

Optimal Environmental Conditions for Biohydrogen Production by Chlamydomonas Moewusii by Cory P. & Jessica A.


What are the optimal conditions for algal biohydrogen production by Chlamydomonas moewusii? For hundreds of years, mankind has utilized fossil fuels, such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas, to power many facets of its society. For example, most power plants run on coal or natural gas, and most large trucks and airplanes run off kerosene-based fuels or petroleum diesel. However, concerns regarding greenhouse gas emissions and consequent global warming have led scientists and engineers to research and/or develop new ways of obtaining clean energy. One promising solution is the use of hydrogen fuel. Hydrogen fuel (H2) is seen as a potential alternative to fossil fuel because of its high specific energy/energy density and clean combustion, which can be shown with its simple reaction equation: 2H2 + O2 → 2H2O A reason hydrogen fuel is not currently mainstream is that hydrogen fuel, by itself, is not a renewable energy source. It does not hide in pockets underground, and cannot be found in large amounts on Earth’s surface. The production of hydrogen fuel determines the cleanliness of its use; hydrogen fuel produced by burning fossil fuels is not considered clean energy, whereas hydrogen fuel produced by renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, or nuclear energy, is considered clean energy. In addition to its ability to be used in hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen fuel can also be reacted with carbon monoxide (CO) to produce liquid hydrocarbon fuels. This research exploration focuses on biohydrogen, or hydrogen fuel produced by algae under certain environmental conditions. We are going to manipulate the conditions on algae in its optimal environment, to see the effect on hydrogen gas production. The enzyme hydrogenase is responsible for creating hydrogen gas. The optimal temperature is 37 deg C, and the optimal pH is 6.0. We will test H2 production in the presence of various substances, like acetic acid or hydrochloric acid. We will likely relate the treatment substance to something that is becoming more prevalent in the environment due to climate change. The measure of H2 gas produced would show the flexibility of and strength of the hydrogenase...