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Many organisms metabolize hydrogen gas by means of an enzyme called hydrogenase. The nature of the catalytic sites in the hydrogenases has long been a subject of conjecture and debate. In their Perspective, Adams and Stiefel discuss results reported in the same issue by Peters et al. in which x-ray crystallography was used to provide the first structural glimpse of the iron-only hydrogenase from the hydrogen-producing, anaerobic bacterium Clostridium pasteurianum. With this information, it is hoped that the properties of the hydrogenase enzyme can now be understood and possibly mimicked for chemical processing applications.