Skip navigation
B. Discovering a New, Environmentally Friendly Fuel Source

Narrator: This is Science Today. A valuable new source of fuel was discovered after researchers triggered green algae to produce large quantities of hydrogen gas. Tasios Melis, a plant biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, says the crucial part of their discovery was realizing there's a metabolic switch within algae cells.

Melis: And this metabolic switch, when activated, permits the algae to produce hydrogen instead of oxygen. Essentially, we deprive the algae from sulfur and in the absence of sulfur, the algae stop the production of oxygen and after a short period of time, they activate the alternative pathway - the result of which is the production of hydrogen.

Narrator: Many energy experts believe hydrogen is an ideal fuel because it's clean burning and renewable.

Melis: I think the primary beneficiaries will be transportation, automobiles, trucks, cars and also power generating plants - plants that generate electricity.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.