NREL Melds Nature with Nanotech for Solar-Powered Hydrogen Production (Fact Sheet)

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NREL researchers are finding ways to mimic photosynthesis by combining enzymes with nanoparticles - particles on the scale of a billionth of a meter - to produce hydrogen directly from water and sunlight. This breakthrough project began in 2008 with scientists and researchers asking how they might learn from nature and develop a synthetic process that is more efficient than plants at converting sunlight to hydrogen. The goal was to find a new way to produce hydrogen that could then be commercialized inexpensively for fuel cells and other uses. Among the various approaches to making hydrogen, the NREL researchers wondered ... continued below

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2 p.

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Creator: Unknown. September 1, 2011.

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NREL researchers are finding ways to mimic photosynthesis by combining enzymes with nanoparticles - particles on the scale of a billionth of a meter - to produce hydrogen directly from water and sunlight. This breakthrough project began in 2008 with scientists and researchers asking how they might learn from nature and develop a synthetic process that is more efficient than plants at converting sunlight to hydrogen. The goal was to find a new way to produce hydrogen that could then be commercialized inexpensively for fuel cells and other uses. Among the various approaches to making hydrogen, the NREL researchers wondered about a hybrid molecular assembly that might pair the best natural molecule with a synthesized nanoparticle. Researchers looked at using hydrogenase enzymes as one part of the equation. These biological catalysts can convert electrons and protons into hydrogen gas, or convert hydrogen into electrons and protons. The choice seemed worthwhile because the hydrogenase enzyme has some intriguing properties: a high substrate selectivity, meaning a very high preference for catalyzing reactions with protons rather than with other atoms and molecules; and fast turnover, which enables it to produce a hydrogen molecule in milliseconds.

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2 p.

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  • Related Information: Innovation: The Spectrum of Clean Energy Innovation, NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

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  • Report No.: NREL/FS-6A42-50990
  • Grant Number: AC36-08GO28308
  • DOI: 10.2172/1026573 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1026573
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc831300

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • September 1, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • April 4, 2017, 6:23 p.m.

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NREL Melds Nature with Nanotech for Solar-Powered Hydrogen Production (Fact Sheet), report, September 1, 2011; Golden, Colorado. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc831300/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.