Bionic leaf turns sunlight into liquid fuel

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jun 3, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

    Daniel Nocera, the Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy at Harvard University, and Pamela Silver, the Elliott T. and Onie H. Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School, have co-created a system that uses solar energy to split water molecules and hydrogen-eating bacteria to produce liquid fuels.
    According to authors, this is a true artificial photosynthesis system that can be used to generate usable fuels, but its potential doesn’t end there.
    Dubbed “bionic leaf 2.0,” the new system builds on previous work by researchers, which faced a number of challenges. To avoid them, researchers were forced to run the system at abnormally high voltages, resulting in reduced efficiency.
    But, for this paper, they designed a new cobalt-phosphorous alloy catalyst, which allowed researchers to lower the voltage, and that led to a dramatic increase in efficiency.
    The system can now convert solar energy to biomass with 10 percent efficiency, far above the 1 percent seen in the fastest-growing plants.
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  3. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

    So this is artificially created biomass? While this is great for the notion of renewable energy, I understand that biomass fuel is not exactly kind to the environment, with greater levels of pollutants than fossil fuels? If it can be used to cleanly create hydrogen for fuel, great, but otherwise I don't see this as necessarily a good thing for the environment, or a solution to the problems but rather just another means of creating the problem.
    ajanta likes this.
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