Since the food crisis last year, ethanol and other biofuels have been under assault by a number of very important organizations like the G-20 and the United States Senate. While bio-ethanol advocates have held their ground, it goes with saying that much of the luster has rubbed off. There may still be hope for the industry based on hydrogen convergence research done at the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis in Rostock (Germany).
According to the fuelcellworks.com website, the Leibniz Institute team led by Matthias Beller has developed a catalyst that dramatically reduces the temperature at which ethanol releases its hydrogen. Hydrogen production from ethanol required that the ethanol be heated to 200 degrees centigrade (i.e. 390 degrees Fahrenheit) versus 80 degrees centigrade (i.e. 170 degrees Fahrenheit) with the new catalyst.
Turning ethanol into hydrogen means that it wouldn’t have to be burned which will eliminate greenhouse gas emissions due its usage. Also this new catalyst could drive ethanol production from algae. In theory, ethanol produced from algae grown as a result of algal carbon sequestration would serve as feed stock for hydrogen production. This would make ethanol a truly clean energy source from start to finish.