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In Australia an enzyme has been isolated from bacteria that In Australia an enzyme has been isolated from bacteria that

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In Australia, an enzyme has been isolated from bacteria that converts air into electricity

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Scientists have discovered an enzyme that converts air into electricity, potentially opening up an almost unlimited source of clean energy. This study was conducted at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

In Australia, an enzyme has been isolated from bacteria that converts air into electricity

The new enzyme consumes hydrogen and generates electricity using the atmosphere as a source of energy. It was obtained from the soil bacterium Mycobacterium smegmatis. Thus, this technique can be used to power implants or wearable electronics.

According to professor of microbiology and study author Chris Greening, scientists previously knew that this was possible, but the mechanism was discovered only now.

We have known for some time that bacteria can use the remaining hydrogen in the air as an energy source to help them grow and survive, particularly in Antarctic soils, volcanic craters and the deep ocean. But until now we didn’t know how they did it“, he explained.

The enzyme itself was named Huc, and scientists declared its high efficiency compared to other catalysts. It is also stated that it needs very little hydrogen to operate.

Huc is very efficient. Unlike all other known enzymes and chemical catalysts, it even consumes hydrogen below atmospheric levels—only 0.00005% of the air we breathe.‘ said study lead author Rhys Grinter of the Institute for Biomedical Research at Monash University.

At the same time, Huc is not affected by oxygen, the enzyme can withstand heating up to 80 °C and cooling. Although it is too early to talk about commercial implementation, it seems that there is a prospect for the appearance of such batteries.

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Nvidia calls Huawei its competitor for the first time

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Nvidia calls Huawei its competitor for the first time

As reported by Reuters, Nvidia for the first time named Huawei as its main competitor. Nvidia wrote about this in its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission late on Wednesday. The document listed Huawei as a major competitor in several categories.

Nvidia calls Huawei its competitor for the first time

Nvidia believes it is competing with Huawei in making artificial intelligence chips. Nvidia’s other competitive areas include the production of graphics processors, central processing units and networking chips. In the document, Nvidia described Huawei as a company that provides cloud services and develops its own computing hardware and software for artificial intelligence systems.

Nvidia did not explain what it means by calling Huawei a competitor. The Chinese company does have a line of accelerators for AI tasks, but the main solution – Ascend 910B – competes with the Nvidia A100 GPU from three years ago.

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Moon flip: Odysseus lander capsized

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Moon flip Odysseus lander capsized

Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lunar lander may have capsized during its descent to the lunar surface on February 22.

Company representatives, speaking at a press conference on February 23, said that according to their information, the lander is on its side at some distance from the intended landing point near the Malapert A crater in the south polar region of the Moon. Intuitive Machines CEO Steve Altemus noted that this could be caused by the module’s overspeed descent, which descended about three times faster than expected.

Moon flip: Odysseus lander capsized

Steve Altemus, CEO of Intuitive Machines, uses a model of the company’s Nova-C lander to show its likely orientation after landing on February 22. Source: NASA TV

A few hours after landing, Intuitive Machines announced that the lander was in an upright position. However, as Altemus noted, this information was based on outdated telemetry data.

Engineers have not yet received images from the module, as they are busy setting up radio receivers. Intuitive Machines CTO Tim Crane added that they are also working to determine what data rates they can get if the lander is on its side and some antennas are therefore unusable.

On the side of the lander, facing the surface, there is only one payload – a piece of art created by artist Jeff Koons. Other commercial and scientific payloads, including those provided by NASA, continue to operate and continue to collect data, as they did during the flight to the Moon and during the descent to the surface. One of the science instruments provided by NASA may have saved the mission. Engineers were able to use data from a navigation Doppler lidar developed at NASA Langley Research Center to replace faulty laser rangefinders on the lander.

Problems with laser rangefinders were discovered after the module reached lunar orbit on February 21. Engineers decided to use these instruments to more accurately measure the orbit, which turned out to be more elliptical than expected. The lasers, however, did not fire and engineers determined that a physical switch had not been turned on before launch.

“It felt like a blow. We were preparing to lose the mission,” Altemus recalled. Then Crane discovered that it was possible to obtain data from the two lasers of the NASA instrument. This process also ensured that NASA’s payload was more thoroughly tested than originally expected.

The goal of the Nova-C payload was to achieve technology readiness of TRL 6 on a scale of 1 to 9, which involves testing a prototype technology in an appropriate environment. The TRL (Technology Readiness Level) is a technique used to assess the degree of readiness of a technology for industrial use. Due to the successful use of this technology during landing, engineers have established a TRL level of 9, which means that the technology has passed all the necessary tests and is successfully used in an industrial environment.

Altemus added that the fact that the Nova-C lander ended up in an elliptical orbit was an “accident” that prompted engineers to activate the laser rangefinder earlier than planned and detect the problem. “It was luck and a little happy coincidence for us.”

One of the payloads that is not yet operational is EagleCam, a student-developed camera designed to be ejected from the lander about 30 meters from the lunar surface to film the landing process. But the ejection did not occur after the lander’s software was changed to allow the use of navigation Doppler lidar data. The EagleCam is mounted on the side of the module and will be ejected later in the mission, which could remain on the lunar surface for 9 to 10 days, providing images of the lander.

Crane noted that based on the operation of the optical navigation sensors on the lander, it is likely that the module is within two to three kilometers of the planned landing site. NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is scheduled to fly over the area in the coming days and take images to determine the exact landing site.

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Researchers were able to synthesize 5 rare isotopes on Earth. Understanding the origin of heavy elements in the Universe reaches a new level

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1708786025 Researchers were able to synthesize 5 rare isotopes on Earth

The research at the Facility for Rare Isotopes (FRIB) at Michigan State University synthesized five new isotopes: thulium-182, thulium-183, ytterbium-186, ytterbium-187 and lutetium-190. This is the first time that scientists have managed to obtain these isotopes on Earth; they have not been found on our planet before.

Researchers were able to synthesize 5 rare isotopes on Earth.  Understanding the origin of heavy elements in the Universe reaches a new level

Illustration of the merger of two neutron stars. Source:NASA / Swift / Dana Berry

Mergers of ultra-dense neutron stars are considered one of the possible scenarios for the formation of heavy elements such as gold and silver. This study brought scientists closer to understanding the processes that occur during such fusions and the formation of heavy elements.

Stars can be considered as nuclear furnaces in which the synthesis of elements from hydrogen to iron occurs. However, to create elements heavier than iron, a special condition is required – the collision of neutron stars.

At the end of the life cycle of massive stars, their iron cores remain, which cannot synthesize heavy elements. The energy that kept these stars from collapsing due to their own gravitational influence is running out. This leads to nuclear collapse and supernova explosions. However, this collapse can be stopped when electrons and protons become a sea of ​​neutrons, which are prevented from merging by an aspect of quantum physics called “degeneracy.” This degeneracy pressure can be overcome if the star’s core has sufficient mass, resulting in the collapse and “birth” of a black hole. But sometimes the initial mass is not enough and the stars “regenerate” into neutron stars.

Moreover, it is not the end of nuclear fusion if the neutron star exists in a binary system with another massive star that also eventually “degenerates” into a neutron star.

These super-dense stars, with masses one to two times greater than the Sun, orbit each other in narrow orbits and emit gravitational waves. Gravitational waves carry away angular momentum from the system, causing the neutron stars to move closer together and emit gravitational waves with greater intensity. This continues until they eventually merge with each other.

Given the extreme nature of the process, neutron star collisions in such binary systems create an extremely aggressive environment. For example, this event releases a substance rich in neutrons. This substance is believed to be important for the synthesis of gold and other heavy elements. Free neutrons can be captured by other atomic nuclei. These atomic nuclei then become heavier, giving rise to superheavy unstable isotopes. These unstable isotopes eventually decay into stable elements such as gold, which are lighter than superheavy elements but heavier than iron.

If scientists could recreate the superheavy elements involved in this process, they could better understand the process of creating gold and other heavy elements. The synthesis of five new isotopes – thulium-182, thulium-183, ytterbium-186, ytterbium-187 and lutetium-190 – allows scientists to recreate the conditions under which heavy elements are formed. They are created by bombarding the dam with platinum ions in FRIB. While it is likely that these particular isotopes are not present in neutron star debris, their creation on Earth is a step toward creating transitional superheavy elements that can later decay into stable elements, including gold.

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