Advances and challenges in photosynthetic hydrogen production

Kevin E. Redding, Jens Appel, Marko Boehm, Wolfgang Schuhmann, Marc M. Nowaczyk, Iftach Yacoby, Kirstin Gutekunst

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The vision to replace coal with hydrogen goes back to Jules Verne in 1874. However, sustainable hydrogen production remains challenging. The most elegant approach is to utilize photosynthesis for water splitting and to subsequently save solar energy as hydrogen. Cyanobacteria and green algae are unicellular photosynthetic organisms that contain hydrogenases and thereby possess the enzymatic equipment for photosynthetic hydrogen production. These features of cyanobacteria and algae have inspired artificial and semi-artificial in vitro techniques, that connect photoexcited materials or enzymes with hydrogenases or mimics of these for hydrogen production. These in vitro methods have on their part been models for the fusion of cyanobacterial and algal hydrogenases to photosynthetic photosystem I (PSI) in vivo, which recently succeeded as proofs of principle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1313-1325
Number of pages13
JournalTrends in Biotechnology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • cyanobacteria
  • green algae
  • solar hydrogen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering


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