How bacteria split hydrogen to generate electricity

Researchers at the RCaH and University of Oxford have worked out how some bacteria can split hydrogen gas to generate electricity, using an enzyme, Hydrogenase, that contains iron and nickel.  In man-made fuel cells very expensive platinum is needed to split hydrogen, but Nature knows better and uses cheaper metals.  The researchers made different forms of the enzyme, measured the activities, and then determined their structures using the Diamond Light Source.  Understanding exactly how the enzyme works could lead to the design of better man-made synthetic catalysts.

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