Washington, Jan 31 (IANS) Hydro-gen has unparalleled poten-tial as a low cost eco-friendly fuel, but it is expen-sive to pro-duce.
Now, researchers from Prince-ton and Rut-gers Uni-ver-sities have edged a step closer to har-ness-ing nature to pro-duce hydro-gen for us.
The team, led by Annabella Sel-l-oni, a Prince-ton chem-istry pro-fes-sor, takes inspi-ra-tion from bugs that make hydro-gen from water using enzymes called di-iron hydro-ge-nases, according to a Princeton statement.
Selloni's team uses com-puter mod-els to fig-ure out how to incor-po-rate the magic of these enzymes into the design of prac-ti-cal syn-thetic cat-a-lysts that humans can use to pro-duce hydro-gen from water cheaply.
The cat-a-lysts designed so far are sus-cep-ti-ble to poi-son-ing by the oxy-gen present dur-ing the reac-tion. By mak-ing changes to the cat-a-lyst to improve the sta-bil-ity of the struc-ture in water, the researchers found that they had also cre-ated a cat-a-lyst that is tol-er-ant to oxy-gen with-out sac-ri-fic-ing effi-ciency.
What is more, their arti-fi-cial cat-a-lyst could be made from abun-dant and cheap com-po-nents, such as iron, indi-cat-ing that the cat-a-lyst could be a cost-effective way of pro-duc-ing hydrogen.