ANU researchers use new protein to generate hydrogen fuel

August 26, 2014 0 By Stephen Vagus
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Researchers from the Australian National University have made a breakthrough in replicating photosynthesis

A team of researchers from the Australian National University (ANU) have made a breakthrough in replicating photosynthesis. The team has been exploring ways to replicate the various steps of this natural process, hoping to leverage photosynthesis to generate hydrogen fuel. With hydrogen becoming more popular as a primary form of energy, finding ways to efficiently produce this fuel has become more important. Researchers around the world have been focusing on artificial photosynthesis to unlock an effect way to produce hydrogen fuel.

Researchers create protein that exhibits an “electrical heartbeat”

ANU researchers have produced a protein that displays a type of electrical heartbeat when it is exposed to sunlight. This is one of the key aspects of photosynthesis as the electrical activity allows for the process to take form. Researchers believe that the protein may help unlock new and more efficient ways to produce hydrogen fuel.  Modern hydrogen fuel production methods are not considered viable for the widespread adoption and use of this fuel. The protein may help solve the production problem.

Ferritin may be the key to unlocking better hydrogen production methods in the future

hydrogen fuel energyThe protein is called Ferritin and can be found in most living organisms. Ferritin’s typical role is to store iron, but the research team has modified the protein to store manganese rather than iron. This allows for better photosynthesis activity. When light was shone on the modified protein, researchers found indications of the transfer of electrical charges.

Finding better hydrogen production methods is becoming very important for the industries that are using this fuel as a primary form of power

Hydrogen fuel is becoming one of the most popular forms of renewable energy, but its adoption has been somewhat sluggish due to issues regarding infrastructure and hydrogen production. Most conventional production methods are inefficient and expensive, making hydrogen less attractive as a primary energy source. While hydrogen faces many challenges, it is quickly becoming the most supported forms of clean energy within the auto industry. As such, there is a need to find better hydrogen production solutions.