It’s no secret that scientists are constantly on the hunt for new ways to reduce carbon emissions. Now, a research group from the University of Turku in Finland, has found a new approach to produce carbon neutral biofuel using green algae.
Through photosynthesis, green algae harvests solar energy to split water, release oxygen and create biomass. Previously, scientists learned that when algae cells are incubated under anaerobic conditions in the dark, then exposed to light, they produce hydrogen. However, only for a few seconds.
In this new study, however, scientists discovered production of hydrogen could be significantly extended by exposing the cultures to a train of strong - yet short - light pulses followed by longer dark periods. This method doesn’t expose the green algae to additional nutritional starvation and reduces significant stress to the cells.
Researchers say the study opens new possibilities for efficient living cell factories to produce biofuels directly from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water. The new method could also aid research and development of new technologies for the large-scale production of carbon neutral biofuels in the industrial sector.