Research promises green energy by using artificial photosynthesis

Almost three years have passed since the engineers from Princeton University claimed that they managed to copy the “blueprint” of the leaves to help the production of more efficient solar cells. Solar cell design that has been created inspired by the structure of the leaf surface with a resemblance to the folds and wrinkles. The surface design allows the addition of 47% more power than ordinary solar cells.

In 2015, a group of scientists with funding from the US Department of Energy Office of Science has documented if the results of their recent research on the solar cell system that mimics the process of photosynthesis. Broadly speaking, this system involves bacteria and semiconducting nanowires to create artificial photosynthesis process.

As the world population grows rapidly, scientists have been looking for other ways to produce energy, to reduce the cost of energy prices per person, and break our strong link with the consumption of fossil fuels.

As the world population grows rapidly, scientists have been looking for other ways to produce energy, to reduce the cost of energy prices per person, and break our strong link with the consumption of fossil fuels.

So here comes 2015 to a new study that is still tied to the trees. A group of scientists, funded by the Department of Energy Office of Science of the United States, has published a new study in the open access journal Nano Letters peer on the system they created that mimics photosynthesis.

In case you need a little science recap primary school, photosynthesis is the natural process by which plants and other organisms use energy from sunlight to synthesize food from carbon dioxide and water. In general, photosynthesis is an “attractive” to the scientific process because their product is oxygen and the process reduces carbon dioxide by combining with water – usually involves chlorophyll in the process. Chlorophyll is the green pigment found in plants that is responsible for the absorption of light.

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley, have created the system involving semiconductor nanowires and bacteria to mimic the natural process of photosynthesis. But unlike the natural process that follows the rules of Mother Nature, scientists photosynthesis is the synthesis of carbon dioxide and water acetate, building block most common today for biosynthesis.

In a press release, the chemical and co Peidong Yang, Division of Materials Sciences of Berkeley Lab, said the process “is a revolutionary leap” toward a fundamental change in the oil and chemicals – and that’s providing a system that produces chemicals and fuels in a more sustainable way – “instead of removing them from the depths of the earth,” he said.

Our automobiles, factories, large corporations, and other pollutants release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere of Earth, and we all know that carbon dioxide has been linked to climate change. Scientists of the project say they want to address this issue – so they designed the process that will solve the storage problem putting the captured carbon dioxide to good use.

As explained Christopher Chang, co-author and professor of chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, energy harvesting system by applying the nanowires, and deliver electrons to bacteria, where carbon dioxide is reduced and combined with water “for the synthesis of a variety of target chemicals value added.”

He said the process is a win-win for the environment, combining nanowires and bacteria to produce energy. The research described as “green chemistry solar” which uses carbon dioxide sequestered. Meanwhile, co-author Michelle Chang UCB, and an expert in biosynthesis, also added that his system underlines the strong line drawn between the fields of materials science and biology.

As an example, compared to the structure of nanowires that protects the bacteria to “Easter eggs buried in the tall grass” – allowing oxygen sensitive organisms to fit the environmental sources of carbon dioxide such as flue gases.

The system consists of an “artificial forest” nanowire heterostructures, which Yang and his research group have created in the past. This forest is called silicon and titanium oxide nanowires. Yang said the nanowires mimics forest chloroplasts in green plants. When sunlight is absorbed, said photoexcited electron-hole pairs are generated in the nanowires that absorb different regions of the solar spectrum.

“The photogenerated electrons in silicon will be passed to the bacteria to reduce CO2, while the photogenerated holes in the titanium oxide water molecules to oxygen separated” he said. To the microbial population, the computer uses Sporomusa ovata, or S. ovata, an anaerobic bacterium that accepts electrons directly from the surroundings, and the electrons used to reduce carbon dioxide.

Once carbon dioxide is reduced in S. ovata, the system uses genetic engineering of E. coli for synthesizing specific chemicals. Keep E. coli and S. ovata reportedly improved yields of specific chemicals.

Speaking of returns, the team said they have produced “encouraging” chemicals acetate, as high as 26 percent for butanol, four-carbon alcohol that is “comparable” to gasoline, plus 25 percent for amorphadiene , a precursor to artemisinin drugs antimaleria, and 52 percent for renewable and biodegradable plastic PHB.

The team is also convinced that they will produce better returns with new improvements in technology.

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