Hydrogen fuel cells may have just taken a giant leap forward. Indiana University scientists just announced they’ve managed to create a highly efficient biomaterial that takes in protons and “spits out” hydrogen gas. Called “P22-Hyd,” this modified enzyme can be grown using a simple room temperature fermentation process — making it much more eco-friendly and considerably cheaper than the materials currently used in fuel cells, like platinum.
In a press release, lead author of the study Trevor Douglas noted, “This material is comparable to platinum, except it’s truly renewable. You don’t need to mine it; you can create it at room temperature on a massive scale using fermentation technology; it’s biodegradable. It’s a very green process to make a very high-end sustainable material.”
The way the enzyme is created is interesting in its own right. Researchers use two genes from E. coli bacteria inserted into the capsid, or viral protein shell, of a second virus. These genes then produce hydrogenase, the enzyme used to set off the hydrogen reaction.
This may sound a little complicated — and it is. Douglas admits that in the past, it’s been hard to harness hydrogenase for biofuel production due to its sensitivity to environmental conditions like warm temperatures. This new method creates enzymes that are much more stable, allowing it to be used more efficiently. Hopefully this discover will help drive down the cost of hydrogen cars — currently the vehicles retail for between $50,000 and $100,000.
Climate change has propelled us to move towards a greener and more sustainable future. It has created an environment that makes it possible to be green and still run a profitable business. It is important to understand the significance of eco-friendly retail stores, because they preserve the future. In other words, repurposing and recycling materials reduce the strain in using resources that are fuel-based.
Also, it becomes less of a need to rely on unsustainable resources to produce durable goods. Eco-friendly retail stores vary in kind, ranging from clothing and goods to furniture, personal care and household cleaning products.
What to expect from eco-friendly retail stores?
Products should be wholly made from a sustainable material eg. furniture made from bamboo or teakwood etc., fabrics from hemp, organic cotton and/or reclaimed fabrics. If the product doesn’t fit the above description, then it should be a by-product of a repurposed or recycled material, and, in turn, should be recyclable after use.
When shop owners use cleaning products that are eco-friendly, they are contributing to a larger movement and awareness of ‘going green’. You are creating a demand that allows innovation to carry on and improve green products. This chain doesn’t stop people from using non-green products, but provides alternatives and still keeps people employed. However, the benefits are far beyond monetary and support the environment, being good for your health and well-being. They are less harmful and toxic to you and nature.
Eco-friendly retail stores are a glimpse of the impact we can have in the future and it starts with consumers buying into that reality. It is hard to reverse the environmental damage done thus far on the planet, but the ecosystem is a self-correcting system and we can aid it in creating balance.
Eco-friendly retail stores are still gaining traction on the market, and therefore are not yet prominent. However, one can browse through an online database to locate one of these stores. We are slowly moving towards green technologies, so it is imperative for us to adapt to such change sooner rather than later.
To paraphrase Charles Darwin, the species that survive are often not the strongest but those capable of adapting to newer conditions. We are at a pinnacle of a great movement and it is our duty to move in that direction. The survival of our species depends on it.