This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

September 04, 2002

Engineers Develop Process to Make Hydrogen from Glucose

Chemical engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a new process to produce hydrogen from glucose, a sugar produced by many plants. The process shows particular promise because it occurs at low temperatures in the liquid phase, so it does not require the energy needed to heat and vaporize the glucose solution. The low temperature also yields very little carbon monoxide, which can damage fuel cells. In fact, the process produces fuel-cell-grade hydrogen in a single step. However, the researchers note that improvements are needed to improve the hydrogen yields from the process and to reduce the cost of the catalyst.

Glucose is manufactured in vast quantities from corn starch, but can also be derived from sugar beets or low-cost waste streams like paper mill sludge, cheese whey, corn stover or wood waste. The research was published in last week's edition of the journal Nature. See the university's press release.