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MIT researcher discovered viruses to separate water molecules for hydrogen

Posted on April 15, 2010 in Green News | Write a review


No one knows whether vehicles running on hydrogen-fuel will be competitive option in the upcoming days of automobiles. There are certain automakers who believe in it like BMW. Honda is hanging on its FCX Clarity Hydrogen vehicle, whereas, London is making blueprint plans on the bases of hydrogen refilling station network. And how we can forget Ahhhnold along with his highway of hydrogen.

The main challenge in front of the automakers is producing hydrogen in large-scale for hydrogen-powered vehicles. The H2 supporters always say that we have hydrogen in abundance around us, in this universe. Yes, we do have hydrogen in plenty quantity in this universe, but its not as easy as plucking ripe fruits hanging on the trees. To produce in large quantity is long process as well as difficult. In order to produce hydrogen in abundant if coal fired power plant is used for energy, how hydrogen-powered vehicle will be a green car? to find a solution to make clean and green hydrogen, MIT is undertaking the project to create hydrogen.

A team of MIT has come up with an idea to produce hydrogen and use it as fuel. Everybody knows about the plants’ photosynthesis process. But let’s go through it in short, plants use sunlight as energy and transform absorbed water and carbon dioxide into fuel for its working. The MIT group has come up with mimic of photosynthesis to produce hydrogen which can be used as fuel, by separating water atoms: oxygen and hydrogen, to get hydrogen.

And how that can be done? Well, Germeshausen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Biological Engineering, Angela Belcher, discovered a very common a harmless viruses, M13, which can connect and separate molecules of a catalyst and biological pigments. The viruses act as wire-like instrument which can expeditiously separate molecules of water.

Angela Belcher explains that Viruses is like wire-like which only holds the catalysts and pigments, allowing them to stand in line. Thus making the water to split. The pigments act as antenna to catch light and transfer that energy through the viruses, sort of a wire. At present, only half of the reaction takes place i.e. of producing oxygen. And the team is hoping to achieve success in creating biological-based systems in making hydrogen by the reaction.

The research is still on go, so it’s difficult to give exact time period to happen a miracle. Belcher states that it will take two years to get complete result out of the reaction by durable system as well as self-sustaining.



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