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Thread: How can organisms produce hydrogen?

  1. #1 How can organisms produce hydrogen? 
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    What different processes could a living organism use to produce hydrogen (possibly from water) and how do these processes work step-by-step? More specifically, provided that genetic engineering had come this far and the human wished it, could the human body be modified to naturally produce hydrogen and store it and if yes what modifications would have to be made?

    I'm just a layman, so go easy on me. >.<

    Edit: I failed to mention that the method cannot use sunlight.


    Last edited by OneOnOne1162; October 8th, 2014 at 08:57 AM.
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  3. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneOnOne1162 View Post
    What different processes could a living organism use to produce hydrogen (possibly from water) and how do these processes work step-by-step? More specifically, provided that genetic engineering had come this far and the human wished it, could the human body be modified to naturally produce hydrogen and store it and if yes what modifications would have to be made?

    I'm just a layman, so go easy on me. >.<

    Edit: I failed to mention that the method cannot use sunlight.
    Try this: https://microbewiki.kenyon.edu/index...ydrogenotrophs

    A few relevant lines:

    QUOTE

    In a process analogous to the way mammalian cells dispose of reducing power by reducing O2 to H2O, fermentative gut microbiota reduce hydrogen H+ to H2 to dispose of reducing power. [1] H2 formation occurs predominantly through the oxidation of pyruvate, formate or reduced NADH and FADH2…...


    …...Hydrogen gas that is not utilized by hydrogenotrophs is either absorbed into the circulation and exhaled with breath or is expelled as flatus (Figure 1). [1],[2]

    UNQUOTE

    I'm not sure I want to see Figure 1

    A chap I knew at school claimed he once collected his farts, over water, in the bath, and that the gas exploded with the "squeaky pop" characteristic of hydrogen.


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    The biological hydrogen production with algae is a method of photobiological water splitting which is done in a closed photobioreactor based on the production of hydrogen as a solar fuel by algae. Algae produce hydrogen under certain conditions. In 2000 it was discovered that if C. reinhardtii algae are deprived of sulfur they will switch from the production of oxygen, as in normal photosynthesis, to the production of hydrogen.

    The chlorophyll (Chl) antenna size in green algae is minimized, or truncated, to maximize photobiological solar conversion efficiency and H2 production. The truncated Chl antenna size minimizes absorption and wasteful dissipation of sunlight by individual cells, resulting in better light utilization efficiency and greater photosynthetic productivity by the green alga mass culture.


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    Quote Originally Posted by OneOnOne1162 View Post
    More specifically, provided that genetic engineering had come this far and the human wished it, could the human body be modified to naturally produce hydrogen and store it and if yes what modifications would have to be made?

    What would be the purpose of genetically modifying humans so they would be able to produce and store hydrogen?
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by OneOnOne1162 View Post
    More specifically, provided that genetic engineering had come this far and the human wished it, could the human body be modified to naturally produce hydrogen and store it and if yes what modifications would have to be made?

    What would be the purpose of genetically modifying humans so they would be able to produce and store hydrogen?

    Well, first I should mention that I'm a writer and this is research for a story I'm writing. However in this case the purpose would be to have a person that's capable of using that hydrogen for a fire power (throwing flames out of his hands).
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    It would seem that there would more likely hood of the hydrogen being exhaled than of it being present at the hands, also hydrogen would not be stored in the body but would rapidly dissipate into the atmoshere.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneOnOne1162 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by OneOnOne1162 View Post
    More specifically, provided that genetic engineering had come this far and the human wished it, could the human body be modified to naturally produce hydrogen and store it and if yes what modifications would have to be made?

    What would be the purpose of genetically modifying humans so they would be able to produce and store hydrogen?

    Well, first I should mention that I'm a writer and this is research for a story I'm writing. However in this case the purpose would be to have a person that's capable of using that hydrogen for a fire power (throwing flames out of his hands).

    Sort of like the firebenders in the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender?
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by OneOnOne1162 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by OneOnOne1162 View Post
    More specifically, provided that genetic engineering had come this far and the human wished it, could the human body be modified to naturally produce hydrogen and store it and if yes what modifications would have to be made?

    What would be the purpose of genetically modifying humans so they would be able to produce and store hydrogen?

    Well, first I should mention that I'm a writer and this is research for a story I'm writing. However in this case the purpose would be to have a person that's capable of using that hydrogen for a fire power (throwing flames out of his hands).

    Sort of like the firebenders in the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender?
    Well, I've never actually seen that show, but from what I do know about it, I guess sort of. This person cannot actually control the fire afterwards though, it's just the production of a jet of flames which moves forward (probably due to pressure).
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneOnOne1162 View Post
    Well, I've never actually seen that show, but from what I do know about it, I guess sort of. This person cannot actually control the fire afterwards though, it's just the production of a jet of flames which moves forward (probably due to pressure).

    In summary, you need:
    1. A mechanism by which hydrogen gas can be stored inside the human body.
    2. A pathway that allows the conscious movement of hydrogen gas out of the body via the skin.
    3. A method by which the hydrogen gas ignites.
    4. A method by which the skin is not affected by the heat of the flames produced.

    Am I correct up to now or am I missing something?
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum
    Quote Originally Posted by OneOnOne1162 View Post
    Well, I've never actually seen that show, but from what I do know about it, I guess sort of. This person cannot actually control the fire afterwards though, it's just the production of a jet of flames which moves forward (probably due to pressure).

    In summary, you need:
    1. A mechanism by which hydrogen gas can be stored inside the human body.
    2. A pathway that allows the conscious movement of hydrogen gas out of the body via the skin.
    3. A method by which the hydrogen gas ignites.
    4. A method by which the skin is not affected by the heat of the flames produced.

    Am I correct up to now or am I missing something?
    Well, I'd say you're only missing one, but other than that that sounds about right.

    In summary:
    1. A mechanism which can produce hydrogen in large enough quantities (preferably from water).
    2. A mechanism by which hydrogen gas can be stored inside the human body.
    3. A pathway that allows the conscious movement of hydrogen gas out of the body via the skin.
    4. A method by which the hydrogen gas ignites.
    5. A method by which the skin is not affected by the heat of the flames produced.



    Last edited by Cogito Ergo Sum; October 10th, 2014 at 06:38 AM.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneOnOne1162
    Well, I'd say you're only missing one, but other than that that sounds about right.

    In summary:
    1. A mechanism which can produce hydrogen in large enough quantities (preferably from water).
    2. A mechanism by which hydrogen gas can be stored inside the human body.
    3. A pathway that allows the conscious movement of hydrogen gas out of the body via the skin.
    4. A method by which the hydrogen gas ignites.
    5. A method by which the skin is not affected by the heat of the flames produced.

    Well, you could opt to invent a new chemical compound that makes the production of hydrogen gas possible.

    You could also make up some new genes that could be inserted in the human genome that are responsible for the enzymes that aid in the production of H2.

    As for the conscious movement, you could invoke the neurons that could release the gas via vesicles (or via the skin pores).
    Points 4 and 5 are more difficult to tackle, so we could brainstorm about it.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by OneOnOne1162
    Well, I'd say you're only missing one, but other than that that sounds about right.

    In summary:
    1. A mechanism which can produce hydrogen in large enough quantities (preferably from water).
    2. A mechanism by which hydrogen gas can be stored inside the human body.
    3. A pathway that allows the conscious movement of hydrogen gas out of the body via the skin.
    4. A method by which the hydrogen gas ignites.
    5. A method by which the skin is not affected by the heat of the flames produced.

    Well, you could opt to invent a new chemical compound that makes the production of hydrogen gas possible.

    You could also make up some new genes that could be inserted in the human genome that are responsible for the enzymes that aid in the production of H2.

    As for the conscious movement, you could invoke the neurons that could release the gas via vesicles (or via the skin pores).
    Points 4 and 5 are more difficult to tackle, so we could brainstorm about it.
    Well, I want to keep to real science whenever possible, so I would prefer to use a method that really exists to produce the hydrogen. I've found several ways, but I can't find that much on any of them myself, so I don't know how feasible it would be to have them as part of this "system."
    As for the actual genetic differences, I won't expand on exactly how the genes differ in the book, only the phenotypical changes. Here I'm mostly going on the assumption that as long as the mechanism already occurs in nature in real life, there's a way that our own genetics could accommodate the genetic changes that make it possible.

    Well, points 4 and 5 are on the backburner still for me due to the fact that if I don't answer point 1, I can't even get to 4 and 5. However, I will say that currently I would answer point 5 by saying that I'd have the hydrogen pushed away far enough and at high enough speed before it ignites so that the person burning themselves isn't an issue.
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    Forum Sophomore M_Gabriela's Avatar
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    Check this out:

    Enzymatic hydrogen generation (Hydrogen production - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

    Due to the Thauer limit (four H2/glucose) for dark fermentation, a non-natural enzymatic pathway was designed that can generate 12 moles of hydrogen per mole of glucose units of polysaccharides and water in 2007.[37] (Link to paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...MC1866174/)The stoichiometric reaction is:
    C6H10O5 + 7 H2O → 12 H2 + 6 CO2The key technology is cell-free synthetic enzymatic pathway biotransformation (SyPaB).[38][39] A biochemist can understand it as "glucose oxidation by using water as oxidant". A chemist can describe it as "water splitting by energy in carbohydrate". A thermodynamics scientist can describe it as the first entropy-driving chemical reaction that can produce hydrogen by absorbing waste heat. In 2009, cellulosic materials were first used to generate high-yield hydrogen.[40] Furthermore, the use of carbohydrate as a high-density hydrogen carrier was proposed so to solve the largest obstacle to the hydrogen economy and propose the concept of sugar fuel cell vehicles.[41]

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    Quote Originally Posted by M_Gabriela View Post
    Check this out:

    Enzymatic hydrogen generation (Hydrogen production - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

    Due to the Thauer limit (four H2/glucose) for dark fermentation, a non-natural enzymatic pathway was designed that can generate 12 moles of hydrogen per mole of glucose units of polysaccharides and water in 2007.[37] (Link to paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti...MC1866174/)The stoichiometric reaction is:
    C6H10O5 + 7 H2O → 12 H2 + 6 CO2The key technology is cell-free synthetic enzymatic pathway biotransformation (SyPaB).[38][39] A biochemist can understand it as "glucose oxidation by using water as oxidant". A chemist can describe it as "water splitting by energy in carbohydrate". A thermodynamics scientist can describe it as the first entropy-driving chemical reaction that can produce hydrogen by absorbing waste heat. In 2009, cellulosic materials were first used to generate high-yield hydrogen.[40] Furthermore, the use of carbohydrate as a high-density hydrogen carrier was proposed so to solve the largest obstacle to the hydrogen economy and propose the concept of sugar fuel cell vehicles.[41]

    On first glance it does sound interesting. Before I can judge whether this is what I'm looking for I'll need to further familiarize myself with the terminology though, and read up on the subject.
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