Dr. Melanie Mormile, a researchers at Missouri S&T, has discovered that the extreme bacterium halanaerobium hydrogeninformans can produce large amounts of hydrogen under the right conditions.
According to Missouri S&T, “Mormile, an expert in the microbial ecology of extreme environments, wasn’t searching for a bacterium that could produce hydrogen. Instead, she first became interested in bacteria that could help clean up the environment, especially looking at the extremophiles found in Soap Lake. An extremophile is a microorganism that lives in conditions of extreme temperature, acidity, alkalinity or chemical concentration. Living in such a hostile environment, ‘Halanaerobium hydrogeninformans’ has metabolic capabilities under conditions that occur at some contaminated waste sites …
“…The infrastructure isn’t in place now for hydrogen to replace gasoline as a fuel for planes, trains and automobiles. But if hydrogen becomes an alternative to gasoline, ‘Halanaerobium hydrogeniformans,’mass-produced on an industrial scale, might be one solution …”
Now, I’ve talked many times before about using bacteria to create hydrogen but this new extreme bacterium may breathe new life into the all of the above approach to organic hydrogen production.