Energies 2011, 4(2), 254-275; doi:10.3390/en4020254
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Renewable Hydrogen Carrier — Carbohydrate: Constructing the Carbon-Neutral Carbohydrate Economy

1 Biological Systems Engineering Department, 210-A Seitz Hall, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA 2 Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences (ICTAS) Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA 3 DOE BioEnergy Science Center (BESC), Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA 4 Gate Fuels Inc. 3107 Alice Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060, USA 5 Biosciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 December 2010; in revised form: 8 January 2011 / Accepted: 28 January 2011 / Published: 31 January 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrogen Storage)
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Abstract: The hydrogen economy presents an appealing energy future but its implementation must solve numerous problems ranging from low-cost sustainable production, high-density storage, costly infrastructure, to eliminating safety concern. The use of renewable carbohydrate as a high-density hydrogen carrier and energy source for hydrogen production is possible due to emerging cell-free synthetic biology technology—cell-free synthetic pathway biotransformation (SyPaB). Assembly of numerous enzymes and co-enzymes in vitro can create complicated set of biological reactions or pathways that microorganisms or catalysts cannot complete, for example, C6H10O5 (aq) + 7 H2O (l) à 12 H2 (g) + 6 CO2 (g) (PLoS One 2007, 2:e456). Thanks to 100% selectivity of enzymes, modest reaction conditions, and high-purity of generated hydrogen, carbohydrate is a promising hydrogen carrier for end users. Gravimetric density of carbohydrate is 14.8 H2 mass% if water can be recycled from proton exchange membrane fuel cells or 8.33% H2 mass% without water recycling. Renewable carbohydrate can be isolated from plant biomass or would be produced from a combination of solar electricity/hydrogen and carbon dioxide fixation mediated by high-efficiency artificial photosynthesis mediated by SyPaB. The construction of this carbon-neutral carbohydrate economy would address numerous sustainability challenges, such as electricity and hydrogen storage, CO2 fixation and long-term storage, water conservation, transportation fuel production, plus feed and food production.
Keywords: artificial photosynthesis; carbohydrate economy; carbon dioxide utilization; hydrogen carrier; hydrogen production; cell-free synthetic pathway biotransformation (SyPaB)

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhang, Y.-H.; Mielenz, J.R. Renewable Hydrogen Carrier — Carbohydrate: Constructing the Carbon-Neutral Carbohydrate Economy. Energies 2011, 4, 254-275.

AMA Style

Zhang Y-H, Mielenz JR. Renewable Hydrogen Carrier — Carbohydrate: Constructing the Carbon-Neutral Carbohydrate Economy. Energies. 2011; 4(2):254-275.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zhang, Y.-H. Percival; Mielenz, Jonathan R. 2011. "Renewable Hydrogen Carrier — Carbohydrate: Constructing the Carbon-Neutral Carbohydrate Economy." Energies 4, no. 2: 254-275.

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