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Fuels Developer Claims Large-Scale Hydrogen from Algae

Algae Sampling (ARS/USDA)

(Agricultural Research Service, USDA)

OriginOil Inc. in Los Angeles, California, a developer of a technology to transform algae into renewable fuels, says it has used solar energy to produce hydrogen from algae at a level comparable to conventional photovoltaic solar panels.

The company used its Hydrogen Harvester device to generate the hydrogen. The device, according to the company, achieved a 12 percent conversion rate for several hours, exposing the algae to sunlight — with no other energy inputs — on a partially clouded day.  Commercial solar cells have conversion rates between six and 20 percent.

OriginOil says its process is based on photosynthesis that the algae combines with carbon dioxide, nutrients, and water. When exposed to sunlight, the process generates oxygen and hydrogen for use in fuel cells. The company says its device does not need to be sited near petroleum refineries as an hydrogen source, but can serve as a receptor for carbon dioxide from conventional refineries or power plants.

Related: Algae Biofuels Technology to Capture CO2 from Coal Plants

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