Enzymes are used to extract hydrogen directly from plant biomass in a method that could revive the prospects for developing cost-efficient fuel-cell cars. The method, developed by researchers at Virginia Tech, improves on the primary method of obtaining hydrogen today, by steam reforming natural gas, in the process sacrificing some of the energy content of the gas. "The key to this exciting development is that [it uses] the second most prevalent sugar in plants ... [which] amounts to a significant additional benefit," said Jonathan Mielenz, group leader of the bioscience division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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