HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Seeing how plants split water could provide key to our future energy needs

The possibility of using the Earth's abundant supply of water as a cheap source of hydrogen is a step closer thanks to researchers from Imperial College London. By mimicking the method plants use to split water, researchers say that a highly energy efficient way to form cheap supplies of hydrogen fuel may be possible in the future.

Reporting online in the journal Science today Imperial researchers reveal the fine detail of the protein complex that drives photosynthesis - the process that converts atmospheric carbon dioxide into organic matter and oxygen (O2) by using sunlight to split water (H2O).

Using X-ray crystallography, the researchers describe for the first time the mechanism that underpins the photosynthetic water-splitting reaction. By analysing these findings the researchers believe it may be possible to learn how to recreate the process on an industrial scale, allowing hydrogen to be manufactured as a fuel.

Professor Jim Barber of Imperial's Department of Biological Sciences explains:
"Without photosynthesis life on Earth would not exist as we know it. Oxygen derived from this process is part of the air we breathe and maintains the ozone layer needed to protect us from UV radiation. Now hydrogen also contained in water could be one of the most promising energy sources for the future. Unlike fossil fuels it's highly efficient, low polluting and is mobile so it can be used for power generation in remote regions where it's difficult to access electricity.

"But the problem is hydrogen doesn't exist on Earth by itself. Instead it combines with other elements such as oxygen to form water, or with carbon to form methane, coal and petroleum. However, water is very stable and for this reason cannot be used directly as a fuel. Researchers have investigated using electrolysis to split water into oxygen and hydrogen but today it costs ten times as much as natural gas, and is three times as expensive as gasoline.


'"/>

Contact: Judith H Moore
j.h.moore@imperial.ac.uk
020-7594-6702
Imperial College London
5-Feb-2004


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Seeing the forest for the trees: The future of environmental policy lies in interaction
2. Seeing stars after LASIK? Study suggests certain pre-surgery factors may be to blame
3. Seeing one weapon from a food-borne pathogen
4. Seeing Blue-Yellow Color Perception For The First Time
5. Seeing How the Brain Changes During Aging
6. The CIA Would Like To Know What Scientists Are Seeing Over The Rainbow
7. New research shows plants can shuffle and paste gene pieces to generate genetic diversity
8. Pollutant causes delayed flowering in plants
9. Purdue study finds antioxidant protects metal-eating plants
10. New discovery may help transplants survive
11. Genetic discovery could dramatically reduce need for liver transplants in children

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/9/2017)... , Feb. 9, 2017 The biomass ... analysis of the biomass boiler market globally in terms ... of biomass boilers. The market for biomass boilers has ... type, end-user, application, and country/region. The market based on ... & forest residues, biogas & energy crops, urban residues, ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... LONDON , Feb. 7, 2017 Report ... $12.5 billion by 2021 from $8.3 billion in 2016 ... from 2016 to 2021. Report Includes - An ... of global market trends, with data from 2015 and ... through 2021. - Segmentation of the market on the ...
(Date:2/3/2017)... SAN ANTONIO , Feb. 3, 2017  Texas Biomedical ... Dr. Larry Schlesinger as the Institute,s ... of Texas Biomed effective May 31, 2017. He is currently ... and Director of the Center for Microbial Interface Biology at ... Dr. Schlesinger as the new President and CEO of Texas ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/16/2017)... , Feb. 16, 2017  Rhythm, ... rare genetic deficiencies that result in life-threatening ... a $41 million mezzanine round of financing ... OrbiMed, MPM Capital, New Enterprise Associates, Pfizer ... undisclosed public healthcare investment fund. Rhythm will ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... February 16, ... ... Albany Molecular Research Inc. has further extended its industry leading Biochemistry Services ... service offers state-of-the-art cGMP techniques and methods for the biochemical and ...
(Date:2/15/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... February 15, 2017 , ... ... that Park SmartScan, a powerful AFM operating software that drastically boosts productivity with single ... completely automatizes all of the functions of setting up and taking the image once ...
(Date:2/15/2017)... , Feb. 15, 2017  NASA provider SpaceX is ... to the  International Space Station  no earlier than 10:01 ... launch will begin at 8:30 a.m. on NASA Television ... Dragon spacecraft will lift off on the company,s ... Kennedy Space Center in ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: