ABC News: Scientists Find Enzyme That Can Make Electricity Out of Minimal Hydrogen

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Article written by  Andi Yu

Scientists have isolated an enzyme from soil bacteria that can convert air into electricity, which they say could be developed into a renewable power source for small devices. 

The Monash University research, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, shows that the enzyme called “Huc” can turn tiny amounts of hydrogen present in the air into an electrical current.

An enzyme is a type of protein that can speed up chemical reaction in cells.

Huc is a “natural battery”, the scientists said, and while their research is in its very early stages, their discovery has the potential to be a low-cost power source for small objects.

“We’ve shown that when we isolate [Huc] in the lab we can put that into an electrical circuit and it produces electricity,” co-lead researcher Rhys Grinter said.

Only very small devices could be powered this way, because there are such low levels of hydrogen in the air — just 0.00005 per cent, he said.

Larger objects would need an external source of hydrogen to add more electrical power. 

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