A new gene that can make electricity?

Discovery would produce cheap power

Trent Nguyen says he's sitting on one powerful gene.

ocean

The CEO of Genexinh says his company has discovered a gene that produces a protein that can split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The electron can subsequently be stripped from the hydrogen molecules--in other words, it's a gene that can make electricity with very little energy and expense.

One of the big knocks against using hydrogen as a fuel source is the cost and energy required to produce it. Using a protein as a catalyst and water as a feedstock for hydrogen would be a lot cheaper, Nguyen said. The company wants to develop a fuel cell that can power small electrical devices. But if it fails, Nguyan would still make a great Batman villain: Give him $1 billion dollars or he'll vaporize the water supply of Gotham.

(Photo: U.S. Geological Survey)

About the author

    Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.

     

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