A new method of artificial photosynthesis could get humans one step closer to using the machinery of plants to make fuels.
The new system is 10 times more efficient than previous synthetic photosynthesis methods. While natural photosynthesis allows plants to turn carbon dioxide (CO2) and water into carbohydrates using the power of the sun, the artificial method can turn carbon dioxide and water into energy-dense fuels like methane and ethanol. This could provide an alternative to fossil fuels drilled out of ancient rock.
“The biggest challenge many people don’t realize is that even nature has no solution for the amount of energy we use,” University of Chicago chemist Wenbin Lin, one of the authors of the new study, said in a statement. Natural photosynthesis, while sufficient for plants to feed themselves, falls short of providing the quantity of energy required to fuel our homes, cities and nations. “We will have to do better than nature, and that’s scary,” he said.
“Writer Fuel” is a series of cool real-world stories that might inspire your little writer heart. Check out our Writer Fuel page on the LimFic blog for more inspiration.