Energized by enzymes -- nature's catalysts

IMAGE: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory chemist Joe Laureanti designed this artificial enzyme that converts carbon dioxide to formate, a kind of fuel.

Image: 
Joe Laureanti, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

With millions of years to experiment, nature solved the problem of efficiently converting raw materials into usable energy. Scientists at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory are using nature's energy converters - enzymes - as a model to develop more efficient and less polluting energy sources. Scientists are exploring the essential features of enzymes that allow them to convert abundant raw materials like carbon dioxide into usable fuel. Harnessing that knowledge to create industrial-scale synthetic enzymes could help usher in a renewable energy future. For example, PNNL scientists used a custom virtual reality app to design an artificial enzyme that converts carbon dioxide to formate, a kind of fuel. PNNL's Wendy Shaw and Aaron Appel organized a session at the 2020 #AAASmtg and invited colleagues from across the nation to share what they've learned.

Credit: 
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory