Navigation Links
Nature's billion-year-old battery key to storing energy
Date:4/18/2012

Montreal, April 19, 2011 New research at Concordia University is bringing us one step closer to clean energy. It is possible to extend the length of time a battery-like enzyme can store energy from seconds to hours, a study published in the Journal of The American Chemical Society shows.

Concordia Associate Professor Lszl Klmn along with his colleagues in the Department of Physics, graduate students Sasmit Deshmukh and Kai Tang has been working with an enzyme found in bacteria that is crucial for capturing solar energy. Light induces a charge separation in the enzyme, causing one end to become negatively charged and the other positively charged, much like in a battery.

In nature, the energy created is used immediately, but Klmn says that to store that electrical potential, he and his colleagues had to find a way to keep the enzyme in a charge-separated state for a longer period of time.

"We had to create a situation where the charges don't want to or are not allowed to go back, and that's what we did in this study," says Klmn.

Klmn and his colleagues showed that by adding different molecules, they were able to alter the shape of the enzyme and, thus, extend the lifespan of its electrical potential.

In its natural configuration, the enzyme is perfectly embedded in the cell's outer layer, known as the lipid membrane. The enzyme's structure allows it to quickly recombine the charges and recover from a charge-separated state.

However, when different lipid molecules make up the membrane, as in Klmn's experiments, there is a mismatch between the shape of the membrane and the enzyme embedded within it. Both the enzyme and the membrane end up changing their shapes to find a good fit. The changes make it more difficult for the enzyme to recombine the charges, thereby allowing the electrical potential to last much longer.

"What we're doing is similar to placing a racecar in on snow-covered streets," says Klmn. The surrounding conditions prevent the racecar from performing as it would on a racetrack, just like the different lipids prevent the enzyme from recombining the charges as efficiently as it does under normal circumstances.

Photosynthesis, which has existed for billions of years, is one of the earliest energy-converting systems. "All of our food, our energy sources (gasoline, coal) everything is a product of some ancient photosynthetic activity," says Klmn.

But he adds that the main reason researchers are turning to these ancient natural systems is because they are carbon neutral and use resources that are in abundance: sun, carbon dioxide and water. Researchers are using nature's battery to inspire more sustainable, man-made energy converting systems.

For a peek into the future of these technologies, Klmn points to medical applications and biocompatible batteries. Imagine batteries made of enzymes and other biological molecules. These could be used to, for example, monitor a patient from the inside post-surgery. Unlike traditional batteries that contain toxic metals, biocompatible batteries could be left inside the body without causing harm.

We're far from that right now but these devices are currently being explored and developed," says Klmn. "We have to take things step by step but, hopefully, we'll get there one day in the not-too-distant future."


'/>"/>

Contact: Clea Desjardins
clea.desjardins@concordia.ca
514-848-2424 x5068
Concordia University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. TriCipher myOneLogin SignatureBook Offers Digital Signatures On-Demand
2. Genetic signatures provide new direction in liver cancer
3. Beverages leave geographic signatures that can track peoples movements
4. Genome signatures enable tracking of algal complexity
5. Blood signatures to diagnose infection
6. CIC Announces Upcoming Webinar: Insurance Consumer Expectations; Customer Experience & Self-Service Will Hit New Highs in 2011! The Role eSignatures Will Play in Meeting that Demand
7. Study identifies new genetic signatures of breast cancer drug resistance
8. UMMS researchers identify epigenetic signatures of autism
9. Epigenetic signatures direct the repair potential of reprogrammed cells
10. Scientists decipher 3 billion-year-old genomic fossils
11. Hydrogen tank lighter than battery
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/6/2017)... April 6, 2017 Forecasts by ... Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government & ... Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, Retail, ... Are you looking for a definitive report ... ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 5, 2017 Today HYPR Corp. , ... server component of the HYPR platform is officially ... end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune ... already secured over 15 million users across the financial ... connected home product suites and physical access represent a ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... April 4, 2017   EyeLock LLC , a ... the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has ... the linking of an iris image with a face ... represents the company,s 45 th issued patent. ... very timely given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that have ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/20/2017)... ... September 20, 2017 , ... Diversity focused business accelerator, The Refinery ... pitch competition to uncover the top technology-driven, women-led startups in Boston, MA, New Haven/Hamden, ... each city’s entrepreneurial events going on that week – in Boston, it will be ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... N.J. (PRWEB) , ... September ... ... have recently published findings of a study examining the effects of exoskeleton-assisted ... with spinal cord injury (SCI). The article, "Neuromechanical adaptations during a robotic ...
(Date:9/20/2017)... , ... September 20, 2017 , ... ... and building management solutions, announced today the opening of an office in Taipei, ... and the Greater China region, while developing new relationships in the region. Located ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... ... of funded early-stage tech companies. “Grit” author Angela Duckworth and her team at ... ic@3401 community is Cooley, an international law firm with decades of experience supporting ...
Breaking Biology Technology: