Clean energy goals: Scientists discover new method to make electricity out of nothing but air


Almost every country and every engineering school in the world is in a race to find a permanent or at least a long-lasting solution to clean energy. Clean energy, in this instance, means electricity which can be generated with the least bit of harm to the environment; no harm at all, is ideal.

As it turns out, A team from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia has managed to do just that. The group of researchers and scientists have successfully found a way to generate electricity out of thin air, without polluting the environment.

Generating electricity from air – how does it work?
Scientists from Monash University in Melbourne have found an enzyme that transforms air into electricity, which could lead to the discovery of a near-limitless source of clean energy. The team has discovered a hydrogen-consuming enzyme from a common soil bacterium which was able to generate an electrical current using the atmosphere as an energy source.

“We’ve known for a long time that microbes can use trace hydrogen in the air as a source of energy to help them develop and live, including in Antarctic soils, volcanic sites, and deep in the ocean,” said Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute’s Professor Chris Greening.

Also read: Explained: How Swiss researchers pulled clean drinking water from thin air with no energy input

“However, we didn’t know how they accomplished it until now.”

The finding was described in an article titled ‘Structural foundation for bacterial energy extraction from atmospheric hydrogen,’ which was published on Wednesday in the magazine Nature.

Huc – the magic enzyme
The enzyme, named Huc, proved to be “astonishingly stable” and incredibly effective at generating “energy from thin air”, according to the researchers.

“Huc is extremely effective,” said Monash University’s Professor Rhys Grinter.

“Unlike all other known enzymes and chemical catalysts, it uses hydrogen at amounts below atmospheric levels – as little as 0.00005 per cent of the air we breathe.”

Also read: MIT engineers develop device that can pull out potable water from thin air

Experiments showed that purified Huc can be stored for extended amounts of time at freezing temperatures or up to 80 degrees Celsius without losing its ability to produce energy.

The natural battery
Early uses of the “natural battery” enzyme Huc include tiny air-powered devices that can be used instead of solar-powered devices.

The most urgent goal is to increase Huc production so that it can be used effectively at a meaningful size.

“Once we generate enough Huc, the ceiling is truly the limit for using it to produce clean energy,” Dr. Grinter said.

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Clean energy goals: Scientists discover new method to make electricity out of nothing but air
Clean energy goals: Scientists discover new method to make electricity out of nothing but air
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