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Living Green: Scientists Harness Clean, Renewable Energy From Garden Grass

Aug 13, 2016 05:04 AM EDT
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Living green may be possible as a new study reveals that researchers have found out a way to harness "green energy" from the most common of things -- garden grass.

The study published in Royal Society journal Proceedings A reveals that by using just sunlight and a cost-effective catalyst, scientists from the U.K. and Cardiff University's Cardiff Catalysis Institute have invented a way to get hydrogen from grass.

"Hydrogen is seen as an important future energy carrier as the world moves from fossil fuels to renewable feedstocks, and our research has shown that even garden grass could be a good way of getting hold of it," said co-author Professor Michael Bowler.

Hydrogen's availability in almost all resources in the world -- water, organic matter, etc. -- has made it a potential candidate to harness energy. However, scientists have not come up with an effective way to harness it.

In order to harness "green" energy, the scientists used a process called photoreforming or photocatalysis. The said process converts the cellulose in organic compounds to hydrogen by activating a simple catalyst using sunlight. This particular catalyst, according to Science Daily, is a substance that could speed up chemical reaction.

"Our results show that significant amounts of hydrogen can be produced using this method with the help of a bit of sunlight and a cheap catalyst," said Bowler.

"Furthermore, we've demonstrated the effectiveness of the process using real grass taken from a garden. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that this kind of raw biomass has been used to produce hydrogen in this way. This is significant as it avoids the need to separate and purify cellulose from a sample, which can be both arduous and costly," he added.

The study opens doors to more research on devising sustainable ways of getting hydrogen to produce renewable energy, which is more eco-friendly as it does not release more toxic or greenhouse gases.

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