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‘The sky is the limit’: Discovery could see devices literally create energy from thin air

Scientists have discovered a new enzyme that converts hydrogen into electricity, which could allow devices to literally generate energy from thin air.

This discovery was made after recent research by an Australian team which showed that many bacteria can draw hydrogen from the atmosphere to provide energy.

This happens in areas that lack nutrients such as deep oceans, volcanic craters and Antarctic soils.

The basis for the new study was Mycobacterium Smegmatis, a common soil bacterium.


Scientists have taken the enzyme responsible to turning hydrogen into energy and studied it to understand how it works.

Huc is an enzyme that transforms the gas into electrical current, similar to a natural battery.

The enzyme can also be stored for a long time. It only needs a small amount of hydrogen to produce an electric current. Furthermore, the bacterium responsible for it can be grown in large numbers.

Small electronics could be powered by

Monash University, Melbourne, described it as “extraordinarily effective”.

Ashleigh Kropp, a doctoral student, stated that the study was “astonishingly stable.”

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It is possible to freeze or heat the enzyme to 80C and it will still be able to produce energy.

“This is a sign that the enzyme aids bacteria to survive even in extreme environments.”

The possibility of using Huc as an energy source for small electronics devices has been explored. This would make it a clean, sustainable and renewable form of power.

Now is the time to figure out how to scale up production.

Dr Rhys Grinter said: “Once Huc is produced in sufficient quantities, there are no limits to its use for clean energy production.”


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