Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nature Points the way to a sustainable hydrogen economy

11.02.2005


“This is an exciting early step in developing a sustainable system for producing electricity from hydrogen” said Professor Chris Pickett (Associate Head of the Biological Chemistry Department at JIC). ”In Nature iron–sulphur enzymes catalyse a range of important chemical reactions that industry can only do by using precious metal catalysts and/or high temperatures and pressures. Based on Nature’s blueprint we are a step closer to building an iron-sulfur catalyst for reactions fundamental to a sustainable hydrogen economy”.



As a blueprint for their syntheses the JIC team used the known molecular structures of the catalytic centre - ‘the H-cluster’- found in the iron–only hydrogenase enzyme from two bacteria (Desulfovibrio desulfuricans and Clostridium pasteurianum). Hydrogenases catalyse interconversion of protons, electrons and hydrogen at extraordinary high rates. Their colleagues in Italy and the US [3] used state-of-the-art computational and spectroscopic techniques to probe the properties of the artificial H-cluster. The synthetic cluster was found to catalyse the reduction of protons to hydrogen albeit with poor energy efficiency. Nevertheless, the researchers believe their discovery should provide a lead to new materials that could eventually replace platinum.

[1] The John Innes Centre (JIC), Norwich, UK is an independent, world-leading research centre in plant and microbial sciences. The JIC has over 850 staff and students. JIC carries out high quality fundamental, strategic and applied research to understand how plants and microbes work at the molecular, cellular and genetic levels. The JIC also trains scientists and students, collaborates with many other research laboratories and communicates its science to end-users and the general public. The JIC is grant-aided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.


[2] The US Department of Energy Report ‘Basic Research Needs for the Hydrogen Economy’ (May 2003) recognised long term strategic issues with respect to supply/demand for platinum, including security of supply. The September 2003 UK Department for Transport report ‘Platinum and Hydrogen for Fuel Cell Vehicles’ documented the need for both a dramatic decrease in platinum loading in fuel cells and 5% year on year growth of South African platinum production to meet modest scenarios for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles over the next three decades. Small fuel cells for powering consumer products such as lap tops, mobile phones etc will be on the market in mid 2006 and the expected growth in this area will undoubtedly place further demands on platinum supply; as will in the longer term the impact of stationary fuel cell units for domestic or industrial gas to electricity conversion.

[3] Department of Biotechnology and Biosciences, University of Milan-Biocca, Milan, Italy, Department of Physics, Washington State University and WR Wiley Environmental Science Laboratory and Chemical Science Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Washington, USA.

Ray Mathias | alfa
Further information:
http://www.jic.ac.uk
http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>