Scientists are building hydrogen-producing mini-biological plants that are able to photosynthesize algae by compressing them into water-rich water droplets. They hope that in the future it will be possible to make this method an environmentally safe and large-scale source of energy.
According to a study published in the journal Nature Communications on Wednesday, under favorable conditions, in a water droplet environment, algae cease to produce oxygen and in turn begin to produce energy-rich hydrogen. However, these miniature enterprises are too small in size to provide enough energy for our house or cars. Researchers think that if this process takes on a large scale, it will be possible to use this mechanism to obtain sustainable and environmentally friendly energy.
It is known that carbon dioxide is converted to oxygen during the process of photosynthesis, but scientists from the University of Bristol and the Harbin Institute of Technology in China found that algae compressed in a drop of water produce hydrogen instead of oxygen. The reason for this is the insufficient amount of oxygen atoms required for photosynthesis in a drop of water, as a result of which hydrogen-producing enzymes take their place.
To better understand the issue, scientists have covered their biological plants with bacteria that consume oxygen. In doing so, they sought to involve as many algae as possible in the production of hydrogen instead of oxygen.
It should be noted that water droplet-sized enterprises will not solve the problem of energy crisis on Earth, nor will they stop the emission of greenhouse gases, however, scientists still hope that in the future it will be possible to implement this idea on a larger scale, which will significantly reduce the cost of hydrogen fuel.