Researchers mimic two natural energy processes with a single catalyst

phys.org | 10/12/2017 | Staff
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Nature is quite good at doing certain kinds of chemistry. For example, water is continuously transformed into its constituents, oxygen, protons, and electrons, and back again as a way of storing and using energy by plants and animals. Technologies based on natural chemical pathways could help to meet mankind's growing energy demands. Specialized enzymes present in plant and animal cells for certain chemical reactions have inspired chemists to try and reproduce natural processes in artificial solar cells and fuel cells.

Now, researchers based at Kyushu University have developed a single catalyst capable of acting as both a fuel cell that consumes hydrogen to release energy and a photosynthetic system able to make oxygen using solar energy. The group recently reported their findings in ChemCatChem.

People - Behavior - Hydrogenase - Photosystem - II

"People have tried before to artificially replicate the behavior of hydrogenase and photosystem II," says corresponding author Professor Seiji Ogo of Kyushu University."But ours is the first study to combine these two very specific biological functions into a single catalytic system that can do both."

Hydrogenase is an enzyme present in organisms that acts like a natural fuel cell, consuming hydrogen for energy. Photosystem II allows plants...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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