Nav: Home

Improving the lifetime of bioelectrodes for solar energy conversion

April 26, 2019

The use of proteins involved in the photosynthetic process enables the development of affordable and efficient devices for energy conversion. However, although proteins such as photosystem I are robust in nature, the use of isolated protein complexes incorporated in semi-artificial electrodes is associated with a considerably short long-term stability. In consequence, the technological application of these kind of biodevices is still limited. Researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) showed that a careful operation of the photosystem-based bioelectrode under the exclusion of oxygen is the key for achieving high stability.

The team involving Dr. Fangyuan Zhao, Dr. Adrian Ruff, Dr. Felipe Conzuelo, and Professor Wolfgang Schuhmann from the Chair of Analytical Chemistry and Center for Electrochemical Sciences, together with Professor Matthias Rögner from the Bochum Chair of Plant Biochemistry describes the results in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Using green energy

Efficiently producing energy for a more sustainable society is nowadays a continuous challenge. Therefore, it is important not only to understand but also to overcome the processes that currently limit the lifetime of technologies for green and renewable energy conversion. Among different promising techniques, the use of protein complexes involved in the photosynthetic process for the fabrication of semi-artificial devices is of particular interest due to their high efficiency and large natural availability.

Oxygen is to blame

The scientists have already shown in a previous study that under operation of the bioelectrode reactive molecules are formed that damage photosystem I and are responsible for a limited lifetime of the biodevice. These reactive species are associated to the use of oxygen as final electron acceptor. Therefore, the design of bioelectrodes operating in an oxygen-free environment was suggested.

An important step towards the application

Now, operation of the bioelectrode under the exclusion of oxygen has proven to effectively increase the lifetime of the device for a substantial period in comparison with the results obtained in the presence of ambient oxygen. As the authors explain, the obtained results are an important step towards the efficient development and possible application of photobiodevices for energy conversion.
-end-


Ruhr-University Bochum

Related Proteins Articles:

Discovering, counting, cataloguing proteins
Scientists describe a well-defined mitochondrial proteome in baker's yeast.
Interrogating proteins
Scientists from the University of Bristol have designed a new protein structure, and are using it to understand how protein structures are stabilized.
Ancient proteins studied in detail
How did protein interactions arise and how have they developed?
What can we learn from dinosaur proteins?
Researchers recently confirmed it is possible to extract proteins from 80-million-year-old dinosaur bones.
Relocation of proteins with a new nanobody tool
Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have developed a new method by which proteins can be transported to a new location in a cell.
Proteins that can take the heat
Ancient proteins may offer clues on how to engineer proteins that can withstand the high temperatures required in industrial applications, according to new research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Designer proteins fold DNA
Florian Praetorius and Professor Hendrik Dietz of the Technical University of Munich have developed a new method that can be used to construct custom hybrid structures using DNA and proteins.
The proteins that domesticated our genomes
EPFL scientists have carried out a genomic and evolutionary study of a large and enigmatic family of human proteins, to demonstrate that it is responsible for harnessing the millions of transposable elements in the human genome.
Rare proteins collapse earlier
Some organisms are able to survive in hot springs, while others can only live at mild temperatures because their proteins aren't able to withstand such extreme heat.
How proteins reshape cell membranes
Small 'bubbles' frequently form on membranes of cells and are taken up into their interior.

Related Proteins Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Crisis
There's no greater threat to humanity than climate change. What can we do to stop the worst consequences? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can save our planet and whether we can do it in time. Guests include climate activist Greta Thunberg, chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox, research scientist Sean Davis, food innovator Bruce Friedrich, and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...