Splitting water is a way to separate oxygen and hydrogen and can be used to help generate hydrogen power sources. A team at MIT have justed released details showing they have successfully modified a virus to split apart molecules of water. Which could provide an efficient and non-energy intensive method of producing hydrogen fuel in the future.
Other researchers have created methods that use electricit provided by solar panels but the new biologically system skips the intermediate steps and uses sunlight to power the direct reaction.
The MIT team, headed by Angela Belcher, (Germeshausen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Biological Engineering) engineered a common, harmless bacterial virus called M13 so that it would attract and bind with molecules of a catalyst and a biological pigment.
Over time, however, the virus-wires would clump together and lose their effectiveness, so the MIT Team added another step, encapsulating them in a microgel matrix, so they maintained their uniform arrangement, stability and efficiency.
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