Director of Penn State’s Hydrogen to Energy Center, professor Ben Logan thinks he has found a way to access a cheap and plentiful supply of hydrogen which could power tomorrow’s economy. Using a process called electrodialysis, Logan combines some ordinary bacteria with water molecules to separate out the hydrogen. Typically, conventional electrodialysis requires too much energy to separate water’s constituent elements, oxygen and hydrogen, but Logan combined a method from microbial fuel cell research.
What’s the Big Idea?
A cheaper, less energy-intensive way to harvest hydrogen must be found before we can expect our cars to be powered by this most fundamental of elements. But this isn’t stopping companies from researching the possibility of hydrogen fuel cells. “Some car companies already make hydrogen-powered models. The state of Hawaii is already experimenting with hydrogen fuel systems. Producing cheaper, abundant hydrogen—especially from sewer water and seawater—is a big step in that direction.”