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Photosynthesis-Inspired Hydrogen Production Method Developed

Creating hydrogen fuel may not be a pipe dream after all. Researchers have deepened their understanding of photosynthesis using computer models, and this has led to the possibility of developing renewable, clean hydrogen fuel.

The molecular structure of the photosynthesis reaction site in plants was revealed through extensive computer modeling. For the first time ever, researchers pinpointed the exact location sunlight converts water into hydrogen and oxygen. This then allows them to identify specific water molecules in a plant’s photosystem that are converted into oxygen.

This new insight is critical to deepening the oxygen-evolving-complex (OEC). The exact structure of OEC has eluded scientists for decades, but they do know that it contains four manganese atoms and one calcium atom. If scientists can deepen their understanding of OEC and exactly how its chemistry works, they can make more efficient hydrogen.

Researchers believe if clean hydrogen fuel can be created efficiently, it will be a major player in the renewable fuel future. Hydrogen is versatile, renewable, and sustainable. There is no danger of a shortage since hydrogen is the most plentiful element in the universe. The mainstreaming of hydrogen fuel may lead to fundamental changes in energy policy and would lessen our reliance on fossil fuels.

[via Science Alert]

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About the author

Leigh is a Senior Technical Communicator working in the energy sector in Dallas, Texas. Prior to her work in the energy industry, Leigh spent years specializing in life saving engineering projects for the US Department of Defense. In her spare time, Leigh pursues her passions of environmental awareness, vegan baking, dog rescue, and defending the place of art, literature, and music in a world that values science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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