Russian researchers have found that the Rhodobacter sphaeroides bacteria produce hydrogen and the rate at which H2 is produced depends upon the pigmentation of the cells.
According to Russia IC, “There are some techniques, which allow hydrogen production without harming our environment – using various bacteria for this purpose is one of such techniques. Purple bacteria Rhodobacter sphaeroides can become popular hydrogen producers, since they have a variety of metabolic pathways, when energy can be obtained either from sunlight, or from various organic substances. When these organisms use organic matter (glucose, lactate, organic acids) for life, they produce molecular hydrogen.”
The rate of hydrogen production is determined by the quantity of the purple bacteria in the bioreactor and the intensity of the light beam shown upon the bacteria. At some point the hydrogen produced hits a plateau because of the pigmentation issue and the Russian scientists are now working to overcome this issue.
This is exciting news coming out of Russia (as is any news coming out) in the field of hydrogen research. The last hydrogen fuel cell car in history that Russia unveiled was the Kvant-RAF in 1979. One can assume that since this point in time there have been several more hydrogen cars in the works (and other hydrogen research) that have gone unreported.