Cracking discovery: Japan scientist uses egg white for clean energy

February 15, 2018
It's a cracking discovery
It's a cracking discovery

A Japanese scientist said Thursday his team has cracked open a method to improve the production of carbon-free energy—by using proteins taken from egg white.

Yusuke Yamada, a professor at Osaka City University, said his team has managed to use from egg white as a "tool" for producing , a powerful source of clean electricity.

The new method "brings us closer to our ultimate goal of producing hydrogen from water," Yamada told AFP.

"This lays the groundwork for the clean production of hydrogen in the future," added the scientist.

When it reacts with oxygen, hydrogen produces electricity, releasing only water and heat in the process.

But hydrogen is currently mass-produced using natural gas or , which themselves result in .

It can be produced in labs without fossil fuels and scientists have traditionally done this by creating a special interaction of the molecules in liquid, explained Yamada.

But free-moving and randomly located molecules and particles in the fluid can interfere with the process of producing hydrogen and scientists have long searched for a way to immobilise them.

Yamada's team used a protein found in egg to build crystals with lots of tiny holes to trap these particles.

The change brought a sense of traffic control to the molecular interactions and improved the efficiency of clean, , Yamada said.

"If you use hydrogen as an energy source, it only releases water in the environment. It is extremely environmentally friendly," he told AFP.

"We found protein was a useful tool" to generate hydrogen in a lab without using a fossil , the professor said.

The world's leading companies see hydrogen as the ultimate clean energy to power everything from cars to office buildings in the future, and ditch fossil fuels that cause global warming.

Yamada's method was published in the February edition of the scientific journal Applied Catalysis B.

Explore further: A new way to produce clean hydrogen fuel from water using sunlight

Related Stories

Ultrathin black phosphorus for solar-driven hydrogen economy

January 17, 2018

Hydrogen as a fuel source, rather than hydrocarbons like oil and coal, offers many benefits. Burning hydrogen produces harmless water with the potential to eliminate carbon dioxide emissions and their environmental burden. ...

Cleaner, cheaper hydrogen from methane

December 11, 2017

Researchers from the Institute of Chemical Technology (ITQ), Valencia's Polytechnic University (UPV) and the Superior Council of Scientific Investigations (CSIC) have developed ceramic membranes that make it possible to produce ...

Recommended for you

Programming DNA to deliver cancer drugs

March 19, 2018

DNA has an important job—it tells your cells which proteins to make. Now, a research team at the University of Delaware has developed technology to program strands of DNA into switches that turn proteins on and off.

Modified biomaterials self-assemble on temperature cues

March 19, 2018

Biomedical engineers from Duke University have demonstrated a new approach to making self-assembled biomaterials that relies on protein modifications and temperature. The hybrid approach allows researchers to control self-assembly ...

Identifying 'designer' drugs taken by overdose patients

March 19, 2018

Drug overdoses are taking a huge toll on public health, with potent synthetic drugs posing a particular threat. Medical professionals are scrambling to meet the growing demand for emergency room treatment, but they're hampered ...

The Swiss army knife of smoke screens

March 18, 2018

Setting off smoke bombs is more than good fun on the Fourth of July. The military uses smoke grenades in dangerous situations to provide cover for people and tanks on the move. But the smoke arms race is on. Increasingly, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.