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British Scientists Use Sunlight And Converted It To Fuel

Hydrogenase is an enzyme present in algae that is capable of reducing protons into hydrogen.

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Scientists pioneer novel model to turn sunlight into fuel.Flickr
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In a breakthrough move, British scientists have used natural sunlight to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen by mixing biological components and man-made technologies.

The team led by academics at the University of Cambridge, used semi-artificial photosynthesis to explore new ways to produce and store solar energy, a finding that could now be used to revolutionise the systems used for renewable energy production.

Their method also managed to absorb more solar light than natural photosynthesis.

Hydrogen Fuel
Representational Image Of Fossil Fuel plant.
Wikimedia Commons.

“Natural photosynthesis is not efficient because it has evolved merely to survive so it makes the bare minimum amount of energy needed — around 1-2 per cent of what it could potentially convert and store,” said lead author Katarzyna Soko, doctoral student at the University’s St. John’s College.

Artificial photosynthesis has been around for decades but it has not yet been successfully used to create renewable energy because it relies on the use of catalysts, which are often expensive and toxic. This means it cannot yet be used to scale up findings to an industrial level.

The new model, detailed in the journal Nature Energy, is the first to successfully use hydrogenase and photosystem II to create semi-artificial photosynthesis driven purely by solar power.

Hydrogen, Fuel
Hydrogen. Flickr

The team not only improved on the amount of energy produced and stored, they managed to reactivate a process in the algae that has been dormant for millennia.

Also Read: SpiceJet To Test A Flight Powered By BioFuel

“Hydrogenase is an enzyme present in algae that is capable of reducing protons into hydrogen. During evolution this process has been deactivated because it wasn’t necessary for survival but we successfully managed to bypass the inactivity to achieve the reaction we wanted — splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen,” Soko explained.

Soko hopes the findings will enable new innovative model systems for solar energy conversion to be developed. (IANS)

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NASA Celebrates Its 60th Anniversary

NASA began operations on Oct. 1, 1958

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NASA Administrator James Bridenstine delivers remarks as he tours the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. VOA

NASA chiefs going back 30 years have come together to mark the space agency’s 60th anniversary.

Five former NASA administrators joined current boss Jim Bridenstine in Orlando on Monday. It was the largest gathering ever of NASA heads and included every administrator since 1989. The conference was arranged by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

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NASA’s Opporutnity Rover. Flickr

The longest-serving administrator, Daniel Goldin of the 1990s, told Bridenstine there’s more to the company than human spaceflight and that the science and technology programs can help draw more public support.

Richard Truly of the post-Challenger shuttle era agreed, but noted humans need to explore.

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It was the largest gathering ever of NASA heads. Pixabay

Bridenstine, meanwhile, ran down NASA’s latest plans for sending astronauts back to the moon.

Also Read: Private Space Firm SpaceX Will Soon Send Its First Private Passenger To Moon

Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin was present for the panel discussion.

The Company  began operations on Oct. 1, 1958. (VOA)

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