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MIT Researchers Harness Viruses to Split Water

ByronScott (1646747) writes | more than 4 years ago

Science 2

ByronScott (1646747) writes "A team of researchers at MIT has just announced that they have successfully modified a virus to split apart molecules of water, paving the way for an efficient and non-energy intensive method of producing hydrogen fuel. The team engineered a common, harmless bacterial virus to assemble the components needed to crack apart a molecule of water, yielding a fourfold boost in efficiency over similar processes."
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Great, but hydrogen "lost in space?" (1)

kipb (529703) | more than 4 years ago | (#31818992)

If you imagine an economy based on hydrogen from splitting water, a lot of hydrogen would be lost as H2 is very small and fits through cracks that O2 or N2 or CO2 wouldn't. H2 in the atmosphere easily reaches escape velocity at ordinary temperatures and so is lost to space. While it could take years to get to the scale where this is relevant (much as dumping in the ocean took years to become relevant), this isn't simply a recycling issue, as it is truly lost from Earth. The incentives are there to conserve all H2 generated of course as it's wasted fuel. There is also incentive not to spill oil, but the Exxon Valdez shows us that's not always enough. In the meantime, cheap solar-generated H2 would be great, as long as we remember the Hindenburg disaster [wikipedia.org] from 1937.

Apocalyptic speculation? Post it here! (1)

jwietelmann (1220240) | more than 4 years ago | (#31820286)

Scenario 1: Virus escapes, proliferates, gradually takes over, and splits all the water molecules on the planet.
Scenario 2: Virus escapes, proliferates, infects humans, splits all the water molecules in the host's body.

Ten or more people were going to post this sooner or later, so I thought it would be nice to just go ahead and get it out of the way right here.
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