Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Microorganism Makes Hydrogen

Scientists have found a quite rare hyperthermophilic archaea, a bacteria that thrives at quite high temperatures, living in ancient volcanic cauldrons of Siberia. D. fermentans is the little creature and, surprisingly, one of its byproducts is hydrogen. Yes, hydrogen as in hydrogen cars, hydrogen fuel cells.

According to the Virginia Tech News, Elizaveta Bonch-Osmolovskaya and her colleagues at the Winogradsky Institute of Microbiology of the Russian Academy of Sciences discovered the rare archaeon that can chew up cellulose and exhale hydrogen. They found Desulfurococcus fermentans in the Uzon Caldera on the Kamchatka Peninsula, an isolated spit of land in eastern Siberia that is full of volcanoes and their remnants. D. fermentans degrades cellulose from the higher plants that fall in the caldera.

Perhaps we can all cultivate these creatures in home fermentation bottles and sell the hydrogen back to the hydrogen stations which will power our vehicles. That would slap the Saudis right off of their camels.

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