Virus creates Hydrogen and Oxygen from Water

Patrick Nosker April 17, 2010 0


In a miraculous feat of biological and physical engineering, scientists from MIT have created a virus that can break apart water to form atomic hydrogen and oxygen.  At the moment, the most effective way of splitting water is with expensive catalytic systems that use electricity.  Borrowing the idea of photosynthesis from plants, the MIT scientists have figured out how to mix both catalysis and photosynthetic ideas into one: a virus that can assemble the catalyst on a nano scale in order to be extremely efficient.  These nano-scaled structures are analogous to the photosynthetic element of plants and some bacteria.  This enables light to be used as the common energy source rather than expensive and inefficient electricity.  The implications of such research, if commercialized, is enormous.  Essentially, “free” electricity will be able to be produced without affecting the carbon status quo.  By creating nitrogen and oxygen simply with light, this is a much more efficient method than electrolysis via solar.

Read more at Scientific American and Nature Nanotechnology

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