The next necessary step, I think, would be an ion pump mechanism that can preserve a chemical gradient between inside the membrane and outside. I am not certain about this, but I believe this too has been observed outside of any laboratory....Energy flows are critical in these processes. That is one reason why I think the best current theory suggests that life may have begun in the extraordinarily energy-rich environment of undersea volcanic vents.More vagueness to the point of uselessness.Of course, the ion pumps (and just about every other molecular process that occurs in a living cell) requires energy, generally as ATP.But just livin' in volcanic vent doesn't somehow lead to ATP or any energy-rich molecule. It's basically just hot.Moreover, even where ATP exists, it requires very complex protein enzymes which are able to couple the release of its energy with another reaction which requires energy. So where do those complex proteins come from?