Scientists have reached a “milestone” in a technique of semi-artificial photosynthesis that may eventually create an “unlimited source of renewable energy”, according to a new study. (Credit: AP)
Scientists have reached a “milestone” in a technique of semi-artificial photosynthesis that may eventually create an “unlimited source of renewable energy”, according to a new study.
Artificial photosynthesis has been around for decades, but scientists have been unable to develop it on a scale that is large enough to an industrial level, or that would be able to function without the use of expensive and polluting devices.
Semi-artificial photosynthesis, a relatively new field of study, has as a goal to ensure by the combination of man-made technologies with biological processes to mimic nature’s method of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen.
In the latest study, researchers at the University of Cambridge focused on an enzyme found in algae called Hydrogenase – which has lied dormant for millennia. Their findings were published in the Sept. 3 in the Nature of Energy.
“Hydrogenase is an enzyme that is present in algae that is capable of reducing of protons in hydrogen,” Katarzyna Sokól, first author of the study, said in a statement. “During the course of evolution, this process is already disabled, because it was not necessary to survive, but we have managed to bypass the idle time to achieve the response we wanted to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.”
The hydrogenase also dramatically improves the amount of energy that is produced and stored. Sokól believes this new process will make it possible to new innovations in the world of renewable energy.
Besides the development of new technologies, these types of studies are essential for the future of space travel — as scientists continue to look for the most efficient ways to spacecrafts carried out on deep space travel.
This story was previously published in the New York Post.