Sunday, May 28, 2023

A new source of clean energy that turns air into electricity

March 28, 2023 21:29

A research team led by Dr Rhys Grinter, PhD student Ashleigh Kropp and Professor Chris Greening from Monash University’s Institute for Biomedical Discovery in Melbourne, Australia, discovered an enzyme that converts air into energy.

This discovery, published in the prestigious journal Nature, can be used because of the small amounts of hydrogen in the atmosphere, which allows the creation of an electric current. “It’s been known for some time that bacteria use trace amounts of hydrogen in the air as a source of energy to grow and survive, including in Antarctic soils, volcanic craters and deep oceans,” explains Green, “but we didn’t know how they did it until now.”

Pain Research showed that this enzyme, called Huc, converted hydrogen gas into an electric current. Unlike all other known chemical catalysts and enzymes, “This one is extraordinarily efficient. It even consumes hydrogen at below atmospheric levels, which is as little as 0.00005% of the air we breathe.”

In the study, researchers used several state-of-the-art methods to uncover the molecular blueprint for the oxidation of atmospheric hydrogen. They used advanced microscopy (cryo-EM) to determine atomic structure and electrical pathways, pushing the limits to the most accurate enzyme structure that has been produced by this method to date. A technique called electrochemical has also been shown to show that a purified enzyme can create electricity in minute concentrations of hydrogen.

This is a “natural battery” that produces a sustained electric current from the addition of air or hydrogen. This invention has great potential for developing small, powerful air engines as an alternative to solar-powered ones.

Enzyme-producing bacteria like this are common and can be grown in large numbers, meaning we have access to a sustainable source of the enzyme. Grinter says the main goal of future work for the production of Huc. “Once we produce this in sufficient quantities, the sky is literally the limit for the use of clean energy production,” he said.

World Nation News Desk
World Nation News Desk
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