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Renewable Hydrogen Carrier — Carbohydrate: Constructing the Carbon-Neutral Carbohydrate Economy
Biological Systems Engineering Department, 210-A Seitz Hall, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Sciences (ICTAS) Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA
DOE BioEnergy Science Center (BESC), Oak Ridge, TN 37831, USA
Gate Fuels Inc. 3107 Alice Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24060, USA
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
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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Zhang, Y.-H.; Mielenz, J.R. Renewable Hydrogen Carrier — Carbohydrate: Constructing the Carbon-Neutral Carbohydrate Economy. Energies 2011, 4, 254-275.
Zhang Y-H, Mielenz JR. Renewable Hydrogen Carrier — Carbohydrate: Constructing the Carbon-Neutral Carbohydrate Economy. Energies. 2011; 4(2):254-275.
Zhang, Y.-H. Percival; Mielenz, Jonathan R. 2011. "Renewable Hydrogen Carrier — Carbohydrate: Constructing the Carbon-Neutral Carbohydrate Economy." Energies 4, no. 2: 254-275.