BLACKSBURG, Va., – A team of Virginia Tech researchers has discovered a way to extract large quantities of hydrogen from any plant, a breakthrough that has the potential to bring a low-cost, environmentally friendly fuel source to the world.
“Our new process could help end our dependence on fossil fuels,” said Y.H. Percival Zhang, an associate professor of biological systems engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Engineering. “Hydrogen is one of the most important biofuels of the future.”
Zhang and his team have succeeded in using xylose, the most abundant simple plant sugar, to produce a large quantity of hydrogen that previously was attainable only in theory. Zhang’s method can be performed using any source of biomass.
The discovery is a featured editor’s choice in an online version of the chemistry journalAngewandte Chemie, International Edition.