Navigation Links
Water and sunlight the formula for sustainable fuel
Date:8/21/2014

An Australian National University (ANU) team has successfully replicated one of the crucial steps in photosynthesis, opening the way for biological systems powered by sunlight which could manufacture hydrogen as a fuel.

"Water is abundant and so is sunlight. It is an exciting prospect to use them to create hydrogen, and do it cheaply and safely," said Dr Kastoori Hingorani, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis in the ANU Research School of Biology.

Hydrogen offers potential as a zero-carbon replacement for petroleum products, and is already used for launching space craft. However, until this work, the way that plants produce hydrogen by splitting water has been poorly understood.

The team created a protein which, when exposed to light, displays the electrical heartbeat that is the key to photosynthesis.

The system uses a naturally-occurring protein and does not need batteries or expensive metals, meaning it could be affordable in developing countries, Dr Hingorani said.

Co-researcher Professor Ron Pace said the research opened up new possibilities for manufacturing hydrogen as a cheap and clean source of fuel.

"This is the first time we have replicated the primary capture of energy from sunlight," Professor Pace said.

"It's the beginning of a whole suite of possibilities, such as creating a highly efficient fuel, or to trapping atmospheric carbon."

Professor Pace said large amounts of hydrogen fuel produced by artificial photosynthesis could transform the economy.

"That carbon-free cycle is essentially indefinitely sustainable. Sunlight is extraordinarily abundant, water is everywhere the raw materials we need to make the fuel. And at the end of the usage cycle it goes back to water," he said.

The team modified a much-researched and ubiquitous protein, Ferritin, which is present in almost all living organisms.

Ferritin's usual role is to store iron, but the team removed the iron and replaced it with the abundant metal, manganese, to closely resemble the water splitting site in photosynthesis.

The protein also binds a haem group, which the researchers replaced with a light-sensitive pigment, Zinc Chlorin.

When they shone light onto the modified ferritin, there was a clear indication of charge transfer just like in natural photosynthesis.

The possibilities inspired visionary researcher Associate Professor Warwick Hillier, who led the research group until his death from brain cancer, earlier this year.

"Associate Professor Hillier imagined modifying E. coli so that it expresses the gene to create ready-made artificial photosynthetic proteins. It would be a self-replicating system all you need to do is shine light on it," Dr Hingorani said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Kastoori Hingorani
kastoori.hingorani@anu.edu.au
61-415-575-278
Australian National University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Ozone treated water v. lethal microbial material
2. Unexpected crustacean diversity discovered in northern freshwater ecosystems
3. New methods for better purification of wastewater
4. Costs for changing pollution criteria in Florida waters likely to exceed EPA estimates
5. Current water resources in Europe and Africa
6. UC research: Tracking Lake Erie water snake in fight against invasive fish
7. Study confirms oil from Deepwater Horizon disaster entered food chain in the Gulf of Mexico
8. Specialization for underwater hearing by the tympanic middle ear of the turtle
9. Study by Haverford College professor reveals unprecedented impact of Deepwater Horizon on deep ocean
10. Increasing water scarcity in Californias Bay-Delta will necessitate trade-offs; hard decisions needed to balance various environmental risks
11. Scientists study the catalytic reactions used by plants to split oxygen from water
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Water and sunlight the formula for sustainable fuel
(Date:2/3/2016)... Feb. 3, 2016 ... of the "Emotion Detection and Recognition ... and Others), Software Tools (Facial Expression, Voice ... Users,and Regions - Global forecast to 2020" ... --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/d8zjcd/emotion_detection ) has announced the ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2016   Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon) announced ... Research Office and the Defense Forensics and Biometrics ... the company,s Snapshot Kinship Inference software ... generally, defense-related DNA forensics.  Although Snapshot is best ... and ancestry from DNA evidence), it also has ...
(Date:1/28/2016)... Jan. 28, 2016 Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA ), a ... its second quarter ended December 31, 2015. ... of fiscal 2016 increased 2 percent compared to the comparable quarter ... of fiscal 2016 was $35.0 million, or $0.93 per diluted share. ... income for the first quarter of fiscal 2016 grew 9 percent ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... 11, 2016   BioInformant announces the February ... Research Products, Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies – Market Size, ... The first and ... cell industry, BioInformant has more than a decade of ... market, by stem cell type. This powerful 175 page ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... cell treatment clinic in Quito, Ecuador. The new facility will provide advanced protocols ... patients from around the world. , The new GSCG clinic is headed ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , Feb. 10, 2016  The Maryland House ... , has announced that University of Maryland School of ... MBA and University of Maryland Medical System President and ... the "Speaker,s Medallion," the highest honor given to the ... Delegates. Dean Reece and Mr. Chrencik ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... York (PRWEB) , ... February ... ... (NASDAQ: REGN) today announced that it has joined the Human Vaccines Project, ... for infectious diseases and cancer. , The Human Vaccines Project brings ...
Breaking Biology Technology: