Egg whites could soon be more than a convenient source of a meal that is cholesterol-free. In 2018, research by a Japanese scientist had devised a process to convert molecules of a chemical isolated from egg whites and generate hydrogen from them. This brings scientists closer to extracting hydrogen from just water without the use of biofuels. Hydrogen could soon become a carbon-free clean energy source. The current production of Hydrogen requires the use of fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases.
Extracting Hydrogen Is The Difficult Part
Though Hydrogen is a fuel that is totally environmentally friendly, its generation involves the burning of a vast amount of biofuels in industrialized processes. This leads to the emission of greenhouse gases, the very gases which we are trying to prevent through clean fuels. Thus it defeats the very purpose of extracting Hydrogen.
Research associate Hiroyasu Tabe of the engineering department of Osaka City University says that the method devised by his team has succeeded in generating hydrogen with solar energy, bypassing the need to burn harmful fossil fuel.
Though hydrogen is abundant and the simplest element on the planet, it rarely exists in a free state and has to be separated from constituents that hold it. Fossil fuels and water both contain hydrogen in large amounts.
The cleanest possible way would be to extract hydrogen solely from water. This would prevent the release of harmful carbon dioxide plus other emissions that contribute to global warming. Inside fuel cells, hydrogen generates power through chemical reactions and not through the combustion process. This produces only heat and water as byproducts.
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This fuel can safely be utilized in homes, vehicles, as a portable source of power, and various other applications. But the key to a green form of hydrogen energy lies in extracting it from a renewable and clean source that could yield a fuel that is totally carbon-free.
Egg Whites Can Play A Crucial Role In The Extraction Of Hydrogen
But then the extraction of hydrogen is a complicated process. It relies on the introduction of a catalyst that can control the molecules that move randomly during the production process.
For efficient catalysis, a vast amount of sunlight energy and catalysts to control the movement of molecules are necessary. And one of the ways to control this random movement is through the use of pure proteins that are produced by bacteria. But special laboratory equipment is necessary to perform such a function. This is where the egg whites can play a crucial role.
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Egg whites are familiar vessels for protein-centered chemicals. It acts as a catalyst and extracts hydrogen from water, an omnipresent compound found abundantly anywhere on the planet.
As the source of power, Japanese researchers used solar energy. They were successful in making a tiny amount of hydrogen inside their laboratory in tiny vessels. It was extracted exclusively from water with the use of lysozyme, extracted from egg whites. The egg whites performed the task of the catalyst.
Lysozyme is an unchanging protein that turns to crystals with numerous tiny holes that act as reaction vessels that are nano-sized and trap particles. This success in manipulating the molecular components has paved the way for a new way to produce hydrogen. Scientists in the future will turn to solar energy to produce clean fuel production. And egg whites have a large role to play in the process.
Scientists now need to devise a way to ramp up production. Egg whites can be an invaluable resource as they are both inexhaustible and inexpensive. They are a cost-effective method of getting proteins and can be mass-produced. And they can always be used later to add life to your wonderful pastry cream.