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‘The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind’

Compiled by Dylan Bettencourt

With South Africa not going a single day without rolling blackouts, the potential to create a solution from thin air seems a dream come true.

A team of scientists in Australia has discovered a way to transform air into electricity. The process involves an enzyme from common soil that could generate an unlimited supply of clean energy.

“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 with Arctic soils, volcanic craters and deep in the ocean,” said Professor Chris Greening from Monash University’s Biomedicine Discovery Institute.

“But we didn’t know how they did this, until now.”

The findings were published in a paper, titled Structural basis for bacterial energy extraction from atmospheric hydrogen, published in the Nature journal last Wednesday, 8 March.

Experiments involving the enzyme showed it can be stored in freezing or near boiling temperatures and still produce power.

The enzyme has even been tested in powering small air-powered devices.

The immediate plan is to increase production of the enzyme to use on a bigger scale.

Grinter said: “Once we produce the enzyme in sufficient quantities the sky is quite literally the limit for using it to produce clean energy.”

Pictured above: Clean energy

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