Artificial photosynthesis

Artificial photosynthesis is a research field that attempts to replicate the natural process of photosynthesis, converting sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen. Sometimes splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen by using sunlight energy is also referred to as "artificial photosynthesis".

Research is being done into a streamlined form of photosynthesis which breaks water into oxygen and hydrogen [ [http://www.rps.psu.edu/0009/energy.html Penn State Research] ] . This process is the first stage of plant photosynthesis (the Light-dependent reaction). Carbon dioxide is not required in this approach. The hydrogen released in artificial photosynthesis (stage 1) could be used in hydrogen engines to generate "clean" energy.

The light-independent reaction (aka the Calvin-Benson cycle) is the second stage of plant photosynthesis, which converts carbon dioxide into glucose. Glucose is stored energy for a plants' growth and repair. It has been suggested that such a process replicated on an industrial scale could help to counter global warming. Specifically, the light-independent reaction of photosynthesis could be used to "mop up" excessive amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. [ [http://www.futurehi.net/archives/000159.html 2004 - Promise of Artificial Photosynthesis] ] Again, however, such a process would ultimately require a source of energy, just as plant photosynthesis does.

History

* 1967 - Akira Fujishima discovers the Honda-Fujishima effect which can be used for hydrolysis.

Research

*2000 CSIRO press release on Artificial Photosynthesis [ [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/11/001127224712.htm Scientists Developing "Artificial" Plants] ] [ [http://www.csiro.au/promos/ozadvances/Series14Artifical.htm Artificial Photosynthesis] ]
*2003 Brookhaven National Laboratory press release [ [http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/pubaf/pr/2003/bnlpr090903.htm Designing a Better Catalyst for Artificial Photosynthesis] ] [ [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/09/030910073052.htm Designing A Better Catalyst For 'Artificial Photosynthesis'] ]
*2006 SLAC on photogeneration cells [ [http://today.slac.stanford.edu/feature/hydrogen2.asp 2006 - photogeneration cells - Slac] ] .
*2008:MIT Chemist Daniel Nocera, head of the M.I.T.'s Solar Revolution Project, and postdoctoral fellow Matthew Kanan may have significantly reduced the cost of the materials required for splitting water into its constitute components by substituting the inexpensive materials cobalt and phosphate for more expensive platinum. This breakthrough may be combined with work being done by Chemist Bjorn Winther-Jensen of Monash University in Australia in developing a low cost conducting polymer that has a large surface area and is resistant to operational degradation. Such research may herald fuel cells that can perform useful work at lower energy thresholds over a longer lifecycle and at lower cost." [ [http://technology.newscientist.com/article/dn14441-electrode-lights-the-way-to-artificial-photosynthesis.html Electrode lights the way to artificial photosynthesis] ] [ [http://www.technologyreview.com/Energy/21155/?a=f Solar-Power Breakthrough: Researchers have found a cheap and easy way to store the energy made by solar power] ]

ee also

*Akira Fujishima
*Photoelectrochemical cell
*Dye-sensitized solar cell

References

External links

Research at Australia National University, Canberra
* [http://www.rsbs.anu.edu.au/ResearchGroups/PBE/index.php Engineering light-activated metalloproteins to split water]


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