Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A Temporary storage for electrons

02.11.2012
A Natural method of producing hydrogen - Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (MPI CEC) and the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have found through spectroscopic investigations on a hydrogen-producing enzyme that the environment of the catalytic site acts as an electron reservoir in the enzyme.

Thus, it can very efficiently produce hydrogen, which has great potential as a renewable energy source. The research team describes their results in the journal “Angewandte Chemie”.


The green algae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, from which the investigated [FeFe]-Hydrogenase was isolated
Foto: MPI CEC/RUB

Producing hydrogen with enzymes

The system analysed constitutes an enzyme that catalyses the formation and conversion of hydrogen. In its centre it has a double-iron core, and is therefore also called [FeFe] hydrogenase. Hydrogenases are of great interest for energy research, since they can efficiently produce hydrogen. However, new catalysts can only be developed given a deep understanding of their mode of action.

Electron transfer in several steps

In hydrogen production, two electrons get together with two protons. The research team showed that, as expected, the first electron is initially transferred to the iron centre of the enzyme. The second transfer on the other hand is to an iron-sulphur cluster that is located in the periphery. It thus forms a temporary storage for the second electron. This “super-reduced” state may be responsible for the extremely high efficiency of the hydrogenase. Subsequently both electrons are transferred in one step from the enzyme to the protons, so that hydrogen is generated. “Only the use of two different spectroscopic techniques made the discovery possible”, says Agnieszka Adamska, a doctoral student at MPI CEC who carried out the spectroscopic studies.

10,000 molecules of hydrogen per second

“Up to 10,000 molecules of hydrogen per second can be generated by a single [FeFe] centre”, says Camilla Lambertz, a postdoc at the RUB who prepared the biological samples for the project. The enzyme is thus among the most efficient hydrogenases and is therefore also being intensively investigated by biologists and chemists with a view to achieving environmentally friendly hydrogen production. The complete mechanism of hydrogen formation is, however, complex and several steps need to be clarified. Next, the researchers at MPI CEC and the Ruhr-Universität Bochum aim to use sensitive spectroscopic methods to locate the proton to which the two electrons are transferred. This negatively charged hydrogen atom (hydride) reacts with another proton to form hydrogen. Inspired by the [FeFe] hydrogenase, the researchers would like to develop their own hydrogen-producing catalysts that could be used for the generation of hydrogen.

Information about MPI CEC

The Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion (MPI CEC) in Muelheim an der Ruhr focuses on fundamental chemical reactions, that play key roles for the storage and conversion of energy. The main objective is to store the energy provided by sunlight in small, energy rich molecules, and thus make it readily accessible independent of time and location. 75 scientists from more than 20 countries work in the three departments Heterogeneous Reactions, Molecular Theory and Spectroscopy and Biophysical Chemistry. The combination of their respective expertise contributes to the development of a sustainable energy concept.

Further information

Dr. Rebekka Loschen, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion,
Public Relations, 45470 Mülheim a.d.Ruhr, 0208/3063681
Bibliographic record
A. Adamska, A. Silakov, C. Lambertz, O. Rüdiger, T. Happe, E. Reijerse, W. Lubitz (2012): Identification and Characterization of the "Super-Reduced" State of the H-Cluster in [FeFe] Hydrogenase: A New Building Block for the Catalytic Cycle?, Angewandte Chemie International Edition, doi: 10.1002/anie.201204800

Dr. Rebekka Loschen | Max-Planck-Institut
Further information:
http://www.cec.mpg.de/
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ange.201204800/abstract

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular Spies to Fight Cancer - Procedure for improving tumor diagnosis successfully tested
03.08.2015 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf

nachricht Stroke: news about platelets
03.08.2015 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Glaciers melt faster than ever

Glacier decline in the first decade of the 21st century has reached a historical record, since the onset of direct observations. Glacier melt is a global phenomenon and will continue even without further climate change. This is shown in the latest study by the World Glacier Monitoring Service under the lead of the University of Zurich, Switzerland.

The World Glacier Monitoring Service, domiciled at the University of Zurich, has compiled worldwide data on glacier changes for more than 120 years. Together...

Im Focus: Quantum Matter Stuck in Unrest

Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.

What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water—the system has thermalized to a new thermal...

Im Focus: On the crest of the wave: Electronics on a time scale shorter than a cycle of light

Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.

The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...

Im Focus: Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record

Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers

Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.

Im Focus: Unlocking the rice immune system

Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight

A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Euro Bio-inspired - International Conference and Exhibition on Bio-inspired Materials

23.07.2015 | Event News

Clash of Realities – International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

10.07.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

“Seeing” molecular interactions could give boost to organic electronics

03.08.2015 | Materials Sciences

Stroke: news about platelets

03.08.2015 | Life Sciences

Molecular Spies to Fight Cancer - Procedure for improving tumor diagnosis successfully tested

03.08.2015 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>