Evaluation of conversion efficiency of light to hydrogen energy by Anabaena variabilis

Jong Hyun Yoon, Ji Hae Shin, Mi Sun Kim, Sang Jun Sim, Tai Hyun Park

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Cyanobacteria provide an efficient system for producing H2 from water using solar energy. The energy conversion efficiency can be defined by the ratio of H2 produced to the light energy absorbed. An IR and opalescent plate method was used to measure the light energy absorbed. Since cyanobacteria absorb light in the visible range but not in the infrared range, the net amount of light energy absorbed by the cells can be estimated by measuring the IR and visible light intensities transmitted through the biochamber. A rectangular biochamber was used for measuring the conversion efficiency from light energy to H2 energy. A quantum meter and radiometer were used to measure the light intensity transmitted through the chamber. Anabaena variabilis was cultured in a BG11 medium with 3.6 mM NaNO 3 and the light intensity was 40-50 μ mol / m2 / s in the growth phase and 120-140 μ mol / m2 / s in the H2 production phase. The maximum H2 production was 50 ml for 40 h and cell density was 1.2 g/l. The H2 production rate was 4.1 ml H2 / g dry cell weight/h. Based on the light absorbed in the H2 production phase, the energy conversion efficiency from light to H2 was 1.5% on average and 3.9% at the maximum. Based on the light energy absorbed in the cell growth and H2 production phases, the energy conversion efficiency was 1.1% on average.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-727
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Hydrogen Energy
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was performed for the Hydrogen Energy R&D Center, one of the 21st Century Frontier R&D Program, funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Korea.


  • Cyanobacteria
  • H production
  • Light conversion efficiency
  • Opalescent plate method


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