The search for hydrogen storage: bacteria as a biobattery



laboratory

At the Goethe University in Frankfurt, research is being carried out on what is known as Acetobacterium woodii. These should be able to store hydrogen and release it again.


(Photo: dpa)

Cologne Its name sounds like an exotic kitchen ingredient. But the Acetobacterium woodii should help to heat the house in the future. The bacterium feeds on carbon dioxide, which it metabolizes with the help of hydrogen to form formic acid. For the bacterium, this stage is just an intermediate step in the complete metabolism.

Frankfurt researchers have now succeeded in modifying the bacterium in such a way that the metabolism runs backwards. In this way, the absorbed hydrogen can be released again. “To put it simply, the bacterium eats hydrogen, stores it and then releases it again,” says Volker Müller, a microbiologist at Frankfurt’s Goethe University.

In the laboratory, it has already been possible to build a kind of biobattery based on this principle. The scientists first fed the bacteria hydrogen for eight hours and then put them on a diet for 16 hours. During this time they released the hydrogen again.

Bio battery for the home

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