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Researchers Generate Hydrogen from Biomass With a 100% Net Gain of Energy

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 8 comments
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Researchers using the Virginia Tech method may make it possible to power our homes from our gardens within the next 3 years.

The concept of producing hydrogen from biomass is certainly not a new idea, but past efforts have been too expensive or produced too little hydrogen (or both) to be viable as a source of electricity. Now, a team of researchers using biomass have successfully generated hydrogen from xylose using the "Virginia Tech method" that results in a 100 percent net gain of energy, produces small quantities of greenhouse gas emissions and doesn't require the use of specialized and expensive metals.

According to researcher Y. H. Percival Zhang, an associate professor of biological engineering (pictured on the right), this "technique could help end the human race’s dependence on fossil fuels" and has an estimated market arrival time of just three years.

Though details on the Virginia Tech method are still under wraps, it is known that the process involves pulling enzymes from micro-organisms and combining them with xylose and a polyphosphate. Once these components are combined, hydrogen can be extracted at relatively low temperatures.

When we consider the phenomenal efficiency of the process and that xylose is the second most abundant sugar found in plants, we may all have the ability to power our homes and gardens and launch the era of carbon-neutral gaming by the end of this decade.

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  • 0 Hide
    sizzling , 14 April 2013 20:22
    What is a 100% net gain in energy supposed to mean. As we know energy cannot be created or destroyed, only converted and to convert energy from one state to another is never 100% efficient?
  • 0 Hide
    ashiataka , 14 April 2013 20:56
    Quote:
    What is a 100% net gain in energy supposed to mean. As we know energy cannot be created or destroyed, only converted and to convert energy from one state to another is never 100% efficient?


    I would guess it means that if it takes x energy to maintain the reaction you get 2x out.

  • 0 Hide
    HEXiT , 14 April 2013 22:22
    whats the bet that some multi national will buy this tech and squash it...
  • 0 Hide
    bemused_fred , 14 April 2013 23:13
    Hmmmm....just sounds too good to be true.
  • 0 Hide
    Cyanide Reverse , 15 April 2013 00:54
    Geniuses! Going to start a compost now!
  • 0 Hide
    markbanang , 15 April 2013 15:13
    I think that if the laws of thermodynamics had been broken, it would have been bigger news than this.
  • 0 Hide
    markbanang , 15 April 2013 15:13
    I think that if the laws of thermodynamics had been broken, it would have been bigger news than this.
  • 0 Hide
    JAYDEEJOHN , 20 April 2013 03:22
    Now, if only the storage will work