Blacksburg, Virginia – University researchers have announced a new “one-pot” process for producing fuel-cell-quality hydrogen, which simplifies production and uses cellulose from wood chips or grass.

The research was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and was carried out at Virginia Tech, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the University of Georgia.

The researchers produced hydrogen gas pure enough to power a fuel cell by mixing 14 enzymes, one coenzyme, non-food cellulosic material, and water at 32 degrees C. They announced three advances from the process: a novel combination of enzymes, an increased hydrogen generation rate, and a chemical output greater than the chemical energy stored in sugars, making it the highest hydrogen yield reported from cellulosic materials.

The researchers used cellulosic materials from wood chips, but said that crop waste or switchgrass could also be used.

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