What kind of cellular structure converts hydrogen and oxygen to water and vice-versa. If have calculated the energy released by the combustion of oxygen and hydrogen to be 572 kJ enough to create 22 ATP molecules from ADP. If it is useful the atmospheric composition is: 0% CO2 20% O2 20% H2 50% N2 9% Xe 1% Kr

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    Jul 31, 2023 at 3:22
  • $\begingroup$ Hello @jhusky, welcome to Worldbuilding. When you see that comment by the automated Community BOT, it's a bad sign. It means there's something about your question that fails to meet the minimum standards of Stack Exchange, leading to a high likelihood of closure. In your case, I suspect it's that Stack Exchange permits one and only one question. It needs to be clear and well-focused on a single, specific problem. You're asking multiple questions with a lot of information that's difficult to believe is relevant (e.g., the moon's orbital period). (*Continued*) $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jul 31, 2023 at 4:13
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    $\begingroup$ ... Note that "mixed hydrogen hydrogen oxygen and nitrogen atmosphere" is very confusing (that might have set off the BOT, too). By "hydrogen hydrogen oxygen" do you mean water (H2O)? The phrase "the info about the world is 1/1" is also confusing. Therefore, can you edit your question to (a) focus on one, specific question, (b) remove any information that isn't relevant to the question, and (c) review those (and any other) phrases that might be meaningful to you but not to your readers? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jul 31, 2023 at 4:16
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    $\begingroup$ One problem with having oxygen and hydrogen in the atmosphere at the same time in significant quantities is that they would naturally react to form water given sufficient initiation energy such as from a UV light or from lightening or a fire. $\endgroup$
    – Slarty
    Jul 31, 2023 at 7:10
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    $\begingroup$ The atmosphere itself would combust and explode upon any spark, such as from a lightning. $\endgroup$
    – Mash
    Jul 31, 2023 at 8:56

3 Answers 3


Frame challenge:

You cannot really have hydrogen breathing life forms, at least not in the way you want. Hydrogen in elemental form is way too reactive and thus not part of the environment. In fact, oxygen in its elemental form is too reactive, and the only reason it exists in the atmosphere is that it is a byproduct of photosynthesis.

The issue with your calculation is that you also need 572 kJ of energy to separate hydrogen and oxygen from water. And using energy from the sun to create hydrogen and then use it to create ATP is kinda inefficient. And life as a rule doesn't particularly like inefficiency.

  • $\begingroup$ I still don’t know how to stop the atmosphere from setting on fire but I’m thinking that they would use water -> hydrogen and oxygen as a replacement for photosynthesis $\endgroup$
    – Jhusky
    Jul 31, 2023 at 15:58
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    $\begingroup$ @Jhusky With a 20%/20% H2/O2 mix, the term isn't "setting on fire", it's detonation. (Though, to be clear, you'd never be able to get to 20% free hydrogen, it would react too quickly. But if you magically started with that mix, your atmosphere would explode.) $\endgroup$
    – jdunlop
    Aug 4, 2023 at 18:27

Have a small percentage of hydrogen regularly made as a byproduct of photosynthesis to make plants that contain their own oxidizer. No free oxygen in the environment. No free oxidizers period. All oxygen is bound.

The food your creature eats has its own oxidizer. The oxygen is released from the food by combining with hydrogen to produce water, and there's still plenty of oxygen available to combine with carbon.

So lots of CO2 nitrogen and probably ammonia in the atmosphere along with hydrogen. Plants still need water. In a way it's opposite to what we have.

Purely speculative. Most things that contain there own oxygen are explosive. Literally all explosives that are not nuclear contain their own oxidizer. Air fuel explosives are a separate thing. I'm talking C4 gunpowder stuff like that.

P.S. there is no way to prevent your atmosphere from detonating if it has free oxygen available.


If the question is how do they separate oxigen and hydrogen to breath hydrogen then : Some kind of electrosis process that would occur naturally, or natural reverse osmosis.

If it is molecular structure: its all theory so there really isnt anything right or wrong, its like asking what the best hot beverage might be, its Opinion based and grounds for Closure. (Not enough repo to vote/see closure pools)


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