Possible Breakthrough In Hydrogen Energy


MIT researchers have developed a method of splitting a water molecule by emulating the way blue-green algae separates oxygen from hydrogen. One chemistry professor called it ‘an extremely clever piece of work’ that addresses ‘the nanoscale organization of the components.’ Using sunlight rather than electricity to make hydrogen from water could greatly improve the efficiency of the process. The hydrogen can be stored for generating electricity or burned as fuel for cars. The project is being led by the winner of a 2004 MacArthur Foundation genius grant, who uses genetically engineered viruses as templates for nanoscale electronic components. ‘Suddenly, I wondered, what if we could assemble materials like the abalone does — but not be limited to one element?’