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:3/18/2016)... -- --> --> Competitive ... Unmanned Vehicles, Physical infrastructure and Perimeter Surveillance & Detection Systems ... security market and the continuing migration crisis in the ... has led visiongain to publish this unique report, which ... defence & security companies in the border security market ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... Florida , March 14, 2016 ... the growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing of a ... channels starting the week of March 21 st .  The ... CNBC, including its popular Squawk on the Street show. ... focused on the growing mobile commerce market, announces the airing ...
(Date:3/10/2016)... 2016 --> ... "Identity and Access Management Market by Component (Provisioning, Directory ... by Organization Size, by Deployment, by Vertical, and by ... The market is estimated to grow from USD 7.20 ... at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 12.2% ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/5/2016)...  Why are two uber-successful former agency presidents ... launching a new venture—yet going about things in a ... helping clients raise the value of their offerings in ... type of collaboration. The result is Elevate, ... medical device sectors. Elevate specializes in shaping and transforming ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Looking for ... San Diego’s premiere hands-on cooking experience. Offering everything from gourmet cooking classes to ... she won’t forget. , Guests that visit LaJollaCooks4u share an experience unlike any ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... The Children’s Tumor Foundation announced its annual ... to grow on nerves throughout the body. It affects 1 in 3,000 people of ... held during the month of May, as well as online activities, Neurofibromatosis Awareness Month ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... , ... May 04, 2016 , ... ... innovations in biotechnology to help treat hormonal and stress related hair loss. With ... captured the hearts of key opinion leaders in the medical and salon channels ...
Breaking Biology Technology: