Submitted by fleepglerblebloop t3_11vl9sw in UpliftingNews

Australian scientists have discovered an enzyme that converts air into energy. The finding, published today in the journal Nature, reveals that this enzyme uses the low amounts of the hydrogen in the atmosphere to create an electrical current. This finding opens the way to create devices that literally make energy from thin air.



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nastynateraide t1_jctphxe wrote

Great, now Nestlé is gonna buy all the air, and now I'm paying my air bill or I don't get to breathe or have power.


cornernope t1_jctvuaa wrote

Most optimistic r/upliftingnews redditor


nastynateraide t1_jcu2edi wrote

Listen, they've primed us for years with movies. Who's getting those post-apocalyptic fantasies financed? And why are so many of them resonating for me?

I love plots where a small group can beat a powerful oppressor. An evil corporation exploiting precious resources. Lords taking food from starving peasants. Laws passed to hurt and chain criminals and minorities; another resource. To monetize suffering. To withhold basic needs of life. Who owns the land? Who owns imagination? Stories? Who owns words and songs and shelter and safety and health?

We pay to exist. Our natural habitat is gone. We pay to exist in our unnatural environment.

Is there an anxiety driven sub? Every silver lining seems to come with a giant dark cloud.


lil_hyphy t1_jcujm8n wrote

I like your line of thought. Maybe we could work together to create new stories and plot lines and words. We could use AI technologies to create illustrated books and even movies. Renegade storytelling. Words do have power. I wonder what type of words we would need to break the current spell the world is under.


asbestospajamas t1_jcwo34j wrote

"...and they finally discovered who it was that had been undermining their efforts toward freedom. The one who had sold his soul and doomed mankind. They discovered his identity when they found his secret hoard of the wealth he'd been offered by his evil masters: A case of Nestlé Crunch bars."


Kooky-Background-962 t1_jcvf8d2 wrote

And bother you to buy their monthly purified drinking water subscription. gif


nastynateraide t1_jcvmlg3 wrote

Premium Plus is only available through Amazon employees who have proven their loyalty


fleepglerblebloop OP t1_jctic5t wrote

..."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, including in Antarctic soils, volcanic craters, and the deep ocean" Professor Greening said. "But we didn't know how they did this, until now."

In this Nature paper, the researchers extracted the enzyme responsible for using atmospheric hydrogen from a bacterium called Mycobacterium smegmatis. They showed that this enzyme, called Huc, turns hydrogen gas into an electrical current.


ParagonSaint t1_jcuibaa wrote

Bacteria Smegma being made into energy? .. did I read that right?


Antekuru t1_jcw60kb wrote

More like bacteria in your smegma create energy from thin air. According to wikipedia, M. smegmatis got its name because it was found in normal, healthy smegma. Fun fact: due to its reputation as a “fast-grower” and its structural similarity to the pathogen that causes tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis), its considered a “model organism” used often in research labs.


pirso t1_jcx468k wrote

I read somewhere that During world war 2 the British air force dropped special propaganda leaflets on enemy soldiers. Those leaflets described how one can fake tuberculosis by smoking shredded newspaper mixed with tobacco and giving smegma-spiced sputum to trick the field medics.


Theeclat t1_jctw6l3 wrote

The salesman for this energy will be a true Huc-ster.


DooDooSlinger t1_jctnuym wrote

I'm having trouble believing the power density of anything using atmospheric hydrogen would be cost competitive with any kind of other power production. And using synthetic hydrogen would necessarily be less efficient than through straight combustion. Still an interesting discovery but the application suggestions are clearly sensationalised


Kradget t1_jctyw54 wrote

This seems like the most obvious use would be things like paint-on electrical generation for things that only require small amounts of power. So maybe just where you need a glow, or to run a very small sensor?

It's definitely interesting, but still in early/pure science days.


MINIMAN10001 t1_jcv19nr wrote

Small industrial sensors are what come to mind when I hear about small amounts of power.

Vibration to energy

Residual heat to energy

Diamond battery

Air hydrogen to energy


GhostBurger12 t1_jcvqo9x wrote

So like, underglow accent strips on your house?


Kradget t1_jcvr79x wrote

Hell yeah, I'm gonna Tokyo Drift it! This is a great idea!


_Weyland_ t1_jcu0xr4 wrote

It's probably an efficiency vs effectiveness question. Yes, this thing probably won't give us much, just like those radiation batteries we hear about from time to time. But the output it does provide will probably be very efficient on consumption of resources and also independent of external factors (light, wind, temperature, location, etc.).

If we create and expand this "bottom line" of free or almost free power, it will create incentives to improve power efficiency of electronic devices. A device you don't have to charge at all will look very attractive in the eyes of customers. Especially if electricity prices go up or grid becomes more reliant on external conditions.


DooDooSlinger t1_jcu6r7f wrote

How do you define effectiveness? All that matters is power density (which includes efficiency ) + cost. If an energy production method provides 0.1% of the power density of solar for instance, why would you waste land to build it, or even use it in stead of other types of land use with higher economic output ? Land use is a major ecological issue and low power density energy generation (like biofuel) has massive negative externalities


Ok_Star_4136 t1_jcxkv78 wrote

Such discoveries often are sensationalised. I hope it leads to being not only efficient but also easily manufactured, but it seems that it would involve being able to grow the enzyme in mass and I don't think we have that kind of technology yet.

It's like any "new tech" article ever written. They show that jetpacks work with a tech demo, and then suggest it might be used everywhere in the future, despite the fact that they neglect to say you can fly only for 30 second intervals before having to refuel. Or perhaps they talk about a new atom-sized transistor that would make microchips incredibly small, but neglect to mention that it must be cooled to temperatures of -100°C and cost three times the cost of producing 50 traditional transistors. I appreciate the optimism, but it should be counterbalanced with a bit of realism as well.

That said, I hope something comes out of this, it should be explored more. I just wouldn't be expecting buildings to be covered with HUC paint that allows them to be entirely energy sufficient just yet. That day may one day come, but we're no closer to installing transparent solar panel glass in buildings than we are using HUC paint.


kelvin_bot t1_jcxkvt0 wrote

-100°C is equivalent to -148°F, which is 173K.

^(I'm a bot that converts temperature between two units humans can understand, then convert it to Kelvin for bots and physicists to understand)


laaangada t1_jcve0tn wrote

I feel like God is saying, "Come on! I can't make it any easier for you!!! Water falls from the skies, food comes from the ground, and electricity comes from the air!! How are you fucking this up guys!!!?


TheSmegger t1_jcv8uz3 wrote

A thousand later, aliens discover a planet with signs of civilisation but no life. They cannot land because the atmosphere is pure electrical current.

All they can do is wonder what happened here.


Windyandbreezy t1_jcubvx7 wrote

Duke Energy is already preparing lawsuits against anyone who considers using this for power in the future instead of using them. #theysuedachurchforusingsolar


ErieSpirit t1_jcum94e wrote

>Duke Energy is already preparing lawsuits against anyone who considers using this for power in the future.



Windyandbreezy t1_jcuxebg wrote

Yeah it's a capitalist joke. Based on something they really did. They sued and won a lawsuit against a church that went solar. They don't like competition.


Dorocche t1_jcuv7ya wrote

They're kidding, obviously, a joke based in truth because of the solar thing.


epaciga t1_jcwkm72 wrote

The true function and exact chemical processes of the Giza plateau are becoming clearer everyday


Spikerazorshards t1_jctndos wrote

Can’t wait for this to power the computers that run AI chat bots that answer questions I have while on the toilet.


StangsSwang t1_jcu6suj wrote

Think how much energy they could make with thick air! ... Im sorry


Neoshenlong t1_jcv0qtz wrote

This sounds like the backstory for a fictional world where everybody has electrical superpowers.


Zizeati t1_jcu8uxk wrote

Goed nieuws voor consultants, politici en iedereen die gebakken lucht of luchtkastelen produceert


k0rer085 t1_jcwv9v0 wrote

That's cool. Now we can have air shortages too when they figure out how to run literally every vehicle on air.

I guess we're OK, as long as the byproduct isn't co2. Then we're fucked.


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S1umL0rdAkr0n t1_jctuiup wrote

What is the process to make this inyo electric grid supply?


gazevans t1_jcuais6 wrote

Who needs air, anyway? 🤷🏼‍♂️


eliot3451 t1_jcugotu wrote

Reminds me of zelda tears of the kingdom


Remerez t1_jcwbbb5 wrote

I thought Bloom Boxes were already using living material to turn air into electricity?


masterofn0n3 t1_jcwp2ky wrote

Oh no. Now nestle is gonna steal all our air too.


xoverthirtyx t1_jcwvwol wrote

Thank god the Aussies found it and not the US. Probably actually get to put it into civilian use in my grandkids lifetimes that way haha


Zyxyx t1_jcx2f86 wrote

It's not who discovers the process that makes the money.

It's those who figure out a way to put it into practice that do. And once they publish their research it's an open game.

Chances are, should this become a viable source of energy, it's because some money-hungry entrepreneur puts together a research team and finds investment AKA someone from the US or someone who's about to become a US citizen.


xoverthirtyx t1_jcx5jz5 wrote

If this were in the US it would be given to a defense contractor to develop and the public wouldn’t reap any benefits of it imho.


Zyxyx t1_jcx6gi4 wrote

Just like with the internet and gps, right?


xoverthirtyx t1_jcxb3ui wrote

Not even. Now that you mention it, pharmaceutical and gas/oil companies would be a better example.

Let’s take a step back, though, are you bothered that I would suggest that certain interests in the US wouldn’t want a new, revolutionary energy source to the be easily available to its citizens if it were discovered here?

Hope not. Take care!


Zyxyx t1_jcxc5yx wrote

Because you seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding on how the world works.

Do explain how a science paper published by a team in the US is in any kind of danger that a paper published by a team in Australia is not.

Let's say big oil is out to discredit all non-oil research, they'll just leave this one alone because the research team wasn't american?

A pharmaceutical company spending billions on R&D on a new drug and then keeping it a secret is fundamentally different to a science research team conducting research on bacterium and publishing its findings for everyone to see.


xoverthirtyx t1_jcyc6y4 wrote

If you're trying to tell me that advances made in energy, transportation, and medicine aren't/wouldn't be stymied in the US by the corporations who control the laws governing their use and availability to its citizens, then you might know something about the world that I don't, but it's not this world.


PsychedelicHell t1_jcwwbb6 wrote

Didn't Nikola Tesla think something similar?


HKUltra220 t1_jcxyfds wrote

He wanted to use the atmosphere to transmit power I think. If my gold fish level memory is even kinda correct, he wanted to use underground water sources and vibrations of the earth to create power from that frequency and use tesla coils to transmit the power high in the atmosphere.


Free_Economist t1_jcxhtxm wrote

How much watts does it generate if it's the size of a cellphone battery?


avidreader_1410 t1_jcxtcu9 wrote

One of the subplots of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" was an engineer who figured out how to convert static electricity so that it could be a power source.


doommaster87 t1_jcy1agq wrote

ah yes im sure this will be life changing and not something that will disappear into the ether never to be heard of again


Zendog500 t1_jcwg6bi wrote

The oil industry and republicans are going to shut that down super fast, faster than cold fusion was shut down in the '60s!!


Zyxyx t1_jcx2xeu wrote

Was the soviet union in on that conspiracy to shut down cold fusion, or were they just too stupid to figure out how to make use of it and stick it up to their enemy? In the 60's, during the pinnacle of soviet power?

If the "oil industry" has that kind of power, that's it, there is no use in trying to fight it, there is no hope whatsoever.


andreaskrueger t1_jcwknj9 wrote

What is the total amount of hydrogen, in all of Earth's air?

Multiply by the Joule of usable electric energy per one hydrogen in that "Huc" process.

Then divide by yearly electricity consumption of humanity.

(Multiply by 100 if you want to give it in percent).

Please. Thanks.


Hegemonic_Imposition t1_jcuob95 wrote

Awesome, another technology that we’ll continue to not use so the wealthy can continue making money off of archaic fossil fuels we never needed to burn in the first place.


Sargash t1_jcu9n21 wrote

Post this to r/energy to be instantly banned because its not sucking off solar and wind energy.