He was talking about harnessing the power of the sun.
Overview[ edit ] The photosynthetic reaction can be divided into two half-reactions of oxidation and reductionboth of which are essential to producing fuel.
In plant photosynthesis, water molecules are photo-oxidized to release oxygen and protons. The second phase of plant photosynthesis also known as the Calvin-Benson cycle is a light-independent reaction that converts carbon dioxide into glucose fuel.
Researchers of artificial photosynthesis are developing photocatalysts that are able to perform both of these reactions. Furthermore, the protons resulting from water splitting can be used for hydrogen production. These catalysts must be able to react quickly and absorb a large percentage of the incident solar photons.
With the development of catalysts able to reproduce the major parts of photosynthesis, water and sunlight would ultimately be the only needed sources for clean energy production.
The only by-product would be oxygen, and production of a solar fuel has the potential to be cheaper than gasoline.
This method of sustainable hydrogen production is a major objective for the development of alternative energy systems. This means that hydrogen and oxygen are produced in the same location. This can be a drawback, since they compose an explosive mixture, demanding gas product separation.
Also, all components must be active in approximately the same conditions e. A heterogeneous system has two separate electrodesan anode and a cathode, making possible the separation of oxygen and hydrogen production.
Furthermore, different components do not necessarily need to work in the same conditions. However, the increased complexity of these systems makes them harder to develop and more expensive.
Another area of research within artificial photosynthesis is the selection and manipulation of photosynthetic microorganisms, namely green microalgae and cyanobacteriafor the production of solar fuels. Many strains are able to produce hydrogen naturally, and scientists are working to improve them.
This method has benefited from the development of synthetic biology which is also being explored by the J.
Craig Venter Institute to produce a synthetic organism capable of biofuel production. In this switch he saw a possibility to lessen the difference between the rich north of Europe and poor south and ventured a guess that this switch from coal to solar energy would "not be harmful to the progress and to human happiness.
Nocera and postdoctoral fellow Matthew Kanan attempted to circumvent this problem by using a catalyst containing the cheaper and more abundant elements cobalt and phosphate.
Furthermore, while the catalyst broke down during catalysis, it could self-repair. DuringAndrew B. Bocarsly reported the direct conversion of carbon dioxide and water to methanol using solar energy in a very efficient photochemical cell. Duringthe Leibniz Institute for Catalysis reported inexpensive iron carbonyl complexes able to do just that.
Visible light water splitting with a one piece multijunction cell was first demonstrated and patented by William Ayers at Energy Conversion Devices during A Nafion membrane above the immersed cell provided a path for proton transport.Artificial photosynthesis seeks to replicate the natural process of photosynthesis.
The goal is to make fuel from solar energy, but scaled up to meet the energy demands of a modern technologically driven society. Artificial photosynthesis is a chemical process that replicates the natural process of photosynthesis, a process that converts sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen; as an imitation of a natural process it is biomimetic.
Another concern is that, unlike natural photosynthesis, artificial photosynthesis requires concentrated carbon dioxide to function. This is easy to do in the lab, but if artificial photosynthesis is scaled up, Yang will have to find a feasible way of supplying concentrated carbon dioxide to the PBS.
A key to the success of their artificial photosynthesis system is the separation of the demanding requirements for light-capture efficiency and catalytic activity that is made possible by the nanowire/bacteria hybrid technology. How Artificial Photosynthesis Works. If the smartest energy source is one that's abundant, cheap and clean, then plants are a lot smarter than humans.
Over billions of years, they developed perhaps the most efficient power supply in the world: photosynthesis, or the conversion of sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into usable fuel.
Berkeley Lab Researchers Perform Solar-powered Green Chemistry with Captured CO2. “We believe our system is a revolutionary leap forward in the field of artificial photosynthesis,” says Peidong Yang, a chemist with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and one of the leaders of this study.