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Researchers Harness Viruses To Split Water!

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posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 03:52 AM
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Researchers Harness Viruses To Split Water: Crucial step toward turning water into hydrogen fuel

This is a seriously interesting find and has real implications for using water as a fuel. It also has implications regarding storage of solar energy along with a host of other stuff. Heres a little from the article.



A team of MIT researchers has found a novel way to mimic the process by which plants use the power of sunlight to split water and make chemical fuel to power their growth. In this case, the team used a modified virus as a kind of biological scaffold that can assemble the nanoscale components needed to split a water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

"snip"

Other researchers have made systems that use electricity, which can be provided by solar panels, to split water molecules, but the new biologically based system skips the intermediate steps and uses sunlight to power the reaction directly. The advance is described in a paper published on April 11 in Nature Nanotechnology.




posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 03:56 AM
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Yikes - they've engineered viruses that can split water into oxygen and hydrogen? I sure hope that virus can't infect people and spread - otherwise you'd see a lot of people with "gas" problems!

Short of that, this could be a big deal - using sunlight to split water into fuel that burns clean? Very promising



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 06:19 AM
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reply to post by harrytuttle
 


It appears the virus is used simply to make the process more efficient. In fact it's a fourfold increase in efficiency! It's really interesting how biological sciences are increasingly being used in energy technology.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 11:44 AM
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reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


Nature's designs are used in almost every aspect of scientific research, and in most cases have moved us forward in several aspects (namely robotics).

Pretty good argument for conservation don't you think?



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 01:25 PM
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I WANT ONE !!!!

How can I get this in my vehicle???

One day, using gas in a vehicle will be
a thing of the past, then

maybe some of these wars will stop
or maybe not

some b@st@rds will find anything to fight about

but at least it wont be over oil



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 04:06 PM
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Biology seems capable of doing things in an intimate, intricate, efficient organic way that our blocky thinking is often incapable of coming up with.

We obviously need better brains & imaginations.
Luckily biology is there to guide us.

& YES, i do agree this is an excellent argument for ecological conservation,

that as well as avoiding total human extinction when we no longer have enough oxygen to keep us alive.



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 04:08 PM
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If it's a virus that uses sunlight to continue the process, can that infect our oceans? Also, don't viruses evolve and change? How controlled can this be?



posted on Apr, 12 2010 @ 04:59 PM
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reply to post by patmac
 


Viruses are essentially just radical proteins. I would agree with you in that even if this virus cannot infect anything right now, that could easily change.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 08:48 AM
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Originally posted by patmac
If it's a virus that uses sunlight to continue the process, can that infect our oceans? Also, don't viruses evolve and change? How controlled can this be?


Why are you worried about one virus when there are millions out there, this seems very strange. The virus does not do anything amazingly different it's just used to align the particles of catalyst and the cataylst does the actual reaction.



posted on Apr, 13 2010 @ 08:57 AM
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Of course the virus is only a catalyst of sort in this reaction. Nothing happens with water and this virus alone. You still need iridium oxide and zinc porphyrins so fear not, our oceans aren't going anywhere.



posted on Apr, 16 2010 @ 01:35 PM
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S+F for another interesting thread


However, i don’t mind admitting that I’m too stupid to understand how it works


Part of me fears this kind of technology while another part of me gets excited... Not sure what instinct to go with yet... need to read a bit more!



posted on Apr, 16 2010 @ 02:22 PM
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reply to post by Muckster
 


People hear the word virus and get all worried lol. The virus does not do anything extreme or worrying and we are surrounded by viruses every single day. The virus can't do anything on it's own, you could dunk it in water all day long and i assure you nothing would happen. The virus simply aligns the catalyst and other molecules so that the water can be split.

The virus itself doesn't split the water, it simply makes the reaction more efficient. This extra efficiency is really needed to make using water as a stored fuel source a reality. Instaed of the filling station keep a large amount of liquid hydrogen you could have a massive tank of water that is split using this technology and a small amount of hydrogen kept on reserve.

This makes the whole thing safer and cheaper. There are of course other applications, if it can be made even more efficient then you really could fill your car with water. Although a second power source would be needed to provide energy for the splitting.



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