Artificial Photosynthesis could soon be a reality. Photosynthesis, a natural process, relies heavily on the production of carbon-neutral fuel. An engineering breakthrough has created a device that can do just that. Carbon-neutral fuel can now be produced artificially. This is a giant leap in the right direction towards artificial photosynthesis.
The intrepid device is wireless. Moreover, it does not rely on any external electrical source to operate. It harnesses sunlight, water, and carbon-di-oxide and in return creates clean energy. The device simply creates energy in the same way plants do. Thus, imitating photosynthesis.
Dr. Qain’s Input
Dr. Qain is an integral part of Cambridge University‘s chemical department. He is also the first author of the research that unearthed this insight. Dr. Qain believes in efficiency and minimal wastage. To fully harness sunlight and turn it into fuel with minimal wastage is no easy task, he argues. The reason largely being the high degree of sensitivity.
Plants are extremely different in how they interact with sunlight. Some need as much as they can get while others not so much. This served as a major barricade on the road to artificial photosynthesis. The new device solves that by creating as much fuel as is needed and then storing the rest for later use. It’s able to do so through “photosheet” technology.
Erwin Reisner’s Input
Erwin Reisner is the senior author of this research paper. He remarked the ultimate goal of this project is much greater than artificial photosynthesis. The ultimate goal is the storage and transportation of cleanly produced liquid fuel.
Solar energy revolutionized the field of clean energy. Erwin believes that this device could further set it on a track of sustainability. Furthermore, the practicality of the device and ease of use make it an even more sustainable piece to keep around.
The new device is 20 square centimeters in dimensions. The size is small since it was created keeping the research in mind. Researchers remarked that scaling the device up to would be an easy process. It could be made as large as necessary. Thus, enabling it to be used freely on farms of any size.
Prior to the device bringing us closer to artificial photosynthesis, the same team was working on something else. Their last research developed an “artificial leaf”. This artificial leaf created a fuel known as syngas. The project, however, hit a couple of slums.
The device that was made in that research was too complex. Its parts were difficult to come by. This made scaling it up a big problem. Moreover, even the fuel that the device made was much harder to use. Due to such problems, this project was dropped
The New Device For Clean “Artificial” Energy
Their next project brought us the device that mimics photosynthesis. This device was much simpler. It was easy to make and a lot more sustainable than the previous one. The fuel it made was clean and dependable. Moreover, the fuel was created with minimal wastage. Thus, the process was effective and efficient.
However, to achieve such efficiency does require a lot more work. Producing it in larger quantities would not be easy nor would it be cheap. Highly skilled and qualified labor would be required for such a task.