The Independent

Scientists discover how to make electricit­y ‘out of thin air’


Scientists have discovered an enzyme that converts air into electricit­y, potentiall­y unlocking a near-limitless source of clean energy. A team from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, found that a hydrogen-consuming enzyme from a common soil bacterium was able to generate an electrical current using the atmosphere as an energy source.

“We’ve known for some time that bacteria can use the trace hydrogen in the air as a source of energy to help them grow and survive, including in Antarctic soils, volcanic craters, and deep in the ocean,” said Professor Chris Greening from the university’s Biomedicin­e Discovery Institute. “But we didn’t know how they did this, until now.”

The discovery was detailed in a paper titled “Structural basis for bacterial energy extraction from atmospheri­c hydrogen”, which was published in the journal Nature yesterday.

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