Renewable Energy Is Within Reach: Scientists Develop Artificial Photosynthesis To Generate Energy

A wind-powered mill generating renewable energy.

Scientists may have found a new source of renewable energy in the form of artificial photosynthesis.

Our planet is plagued by a series of environmental issues all of which are increasing rapidly. One of the main problems that scientists continue to work on is the need for an efficient means to produce clean energy. To solve this energy crisis, scientists resorted to harnessing the sun’s power via solar panels, however, the results were mixed. However, the search for a fully working and reliable renewable energy source may have yielded some positive results.

While solar panels are efficient at collecting and converting the sun’s energy into electrical energy, they are not as reliable as a similar function that plants employ called photosynthesis.

Another area where solar panels fail is that these panels aren’t too sensitive to low-light scenarios which makes it difficult for the panels to produce electricity when it’s dark. Scientists, thus, turned to the innate power of plants, which are able to produce energy even in low light situations, and managed to produce artificial photosynthesis.

Professor Dunwei Wang along with a research team at Boston College, believe to have figured out how to take advantage of artificial photosynthesis for production of electricity.

This new type of photosynthesis uses sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide to develop fuel or electrical energy. The power generated can then be stored and used later depending on the circumstances.

The researchers noticed that common single atom structures, which are essential in artificial photosynthesis, can be put through any degree of longevity. Thus, Professor Wang and his colleagues used special two-atom catalysts developed from iridium to handle more strain than a single-atom catalyst without wearing out.

According to the study, this process uses up carbon dioxide meaning that artificial photosynthesis can reduce the carbon dioxide level presented in the atmosphere. If this new type of renewable energy truly works, then it will slow down the output of greenhouse gases which humans pump in large amounts each year.

The study was published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Image Source: MaxPixel

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