Tuesday, March 17, 2009

One Step Closer to Artificial Photosynthesis

Artificial photosynthesis for the production of liquid fuels is a potential source for renewable and carbon-neutral of transportation energy. The basic concept is to integrate light-harvesting systems that can capture solar photons and catalytic systems that can oxidize water, then to combine this water oxidation half reaction with a carbon dioxide reduction step in an artificial-leaf type system to produce a liquid hydrocarbon, such as methanol (CH3OH), that can be stored, transported, and used for transportation or other applications.

Researchers with the US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have now found that nano-sized crystals of cobalt oxide can effectively carry out the critical photosynthetic reaction of splitting water molecules. The next big step, however, will be to integrate the water oxidation half reaction with the carbon dioxide reduction step in an artificial leaf type system.
Hope they get that second part working soon. I wonder how the efficiencies and economics of this compare with using algae?

Artificial photosynthesis has been a dream of mine for a while, although more for use as a human fuel than a car fuel.

via Science Daily and Green Car Congress

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