The Hydrogen Club at Oregon State University is conducting research and development on 3 different methods of producing hydrogen. According to the Hydrogen Club their vision is to “…make the hydrogen economy a reality in Corvallis and to make Corvallis a model community for renewable energy solutions.”
Corvallis is a small town approximately midway between Portland and Eugene, Oregon. The Hydrogen Club sees the sun as playing a major role in producing hydrogen to be used by fuel cell cars and other applications.
The first method of producing hydrogen that the researchers are studying is the use of certain strains of bacteria that will produce H2 gas with a 600-fold increase over other methods. This kind of hydrogen production method could be used in areas that are overcast (like the Northwest), which are more amenable to bacteria production.
The second method the Hydrogen Club is studying would be for areas of the country where the sun shines hot and bright much of the year, such as Arizona. Using solar concentrators with concave mirrors could crack water into hydrogen at temperatures above 1,000 degrees F.
The third method of producing H2 that the Hydrogen Club is focusing upon is building microbial fuel cells for wastewater treatment plants. Sewage, landfills, and other sources of waste produce significant amounts of hydrogen, which can be sequestered and purified for commercial use.
The Hydrogen Club at Oregon State University is a good example of thinking globally and acting locally as Corvallis, Oregon may just be a model for other cities to follow in the very near future.