Bionic leaf 2.0

Harvard scientists have created a system a system that uses solar energy plus hydrogen-eating bacteria to produce liquid fuels with 10 percent efficiency, compared to the 1 percent seen in the fastest-growing plants. The system uses solar energy to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Dubbed “bionic leaf 2.0,” the new system builds on previous work by Nocera, Silver and others, which faced a number of challenges. Mainly, the catalyst they used to produce hydrogen (a nickel-molybdenum-zinc alloy) also created reactive — molecules that attacked and destroyed the bacteria’s DNA.