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Title: Spontaneous high-yield hydrogen production from cellulosic materials and water catalyzed by enzyme cocktail

Carbon-neutral hydrogen gas is a compelling energy carrier, especially for the transportation section. Low-cost hydrogen can be produced from abundant renewable lignocellulosic biomass through a number of methods employing chemical catalysis, biocatalysis or a combination of both, but these technologies suffer from low hydrogen yields (well below the theoretical yield of 12 H2 per glucose), undesired side-products and/or required severe reaction conditions. Here we present a novel in vitro synthetic biology approach for producing near theoretical hydrogen yields from cellulosic materials (cellodextrins) and water at 32oC and 1 atm. These non-natural catabolic pathways containing up to 14 enzymes and one coenzyme degrade cellodextrins initially to glucose-1-phosphate and eventually to CO2, split water and finally release the chemical energy in the form of hydrogen gas. Up to 11.2 H2 per anhydroglucose was produced in a batch reaction. This spontaneous endothermic reaction is driven by entropy gain, suggesting that the thermal energy is adsorbed for generating more chemical energy (hydrogen gas) than that in cellodextrins, i.e., output/input of chemical energy > 1, with an input of ambient-temperature thermal energy.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [1]
  1. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech)
  2. University of Georgia, Athens, GA
  3. ORNL
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: ChemSuSChem; Journal Volume: 2; Journal Issue: 2
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Sponsoring Org:
SC USDOE - Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
08 HYDROGEN; 09 BIOMASS FUELS; AMBIENT TEMPERATURE; BIOLOGY; BIOMASS; CATALYSIS; COENZYMES; ENTROPY; ENZYMES; GLUCOSE; HYDROGEN; HYDROGEN PRODUCTION; IN VITRO; WATER Biomass; cellulose; cellodextrin; entropy-driven chemical reaction; hydrogen; synthetic biology; synthetic enzymatic pathway