Improving Mother Nature? Artificial Photosynthesis Set To Revolutionize Clean Fuel Generation

(Image of the actual artificial leaf) Plants and trees produce energy through the process of photosynthesis. For years, science has


(Image of the actual artificial leaf)

Plants and trees produce energy through the process of photosynthesis. For years, science has attempted to recreate this process artificially to make a clean fuel. The largest barrier to a clean energy economy, is to find an inexpensive way to generate and store renewable energy.

In 2010, The U.S. Department of Energy teamed up with Caltech to form “The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis”. The goal of this coalition (JCAP) was to find an efficient, low cost way to produce fuel using only the sun, water and carbon dioxide thus mimicking the process of natural photosynthesis.

At the same time, researchers in Australia have been attempting the same process and are now reporting to have been able to produce hydrogen which can be used to create clean fuel with zero carbon emissions. Through a process called “electrochemical splitting”, these Australian scientists claim to be able to reach 22% energy efficiency which is many times greater than what is achieved through natural photosynthesis.

Caltech researchers have utilized nickel as the catalyst for their process. Nickel is an inexpensive material which means the cost to produce energy can now be achieved at a much smaller cost. Their new solar fuel system, tagged as the “artificial leaf”, can effectively convert 10 percent of the energy in sunlight into a stored chemical fuel. The researchers claim this can operate for up to 40 hours.

With more collaboration to increase the lifetime of the system, while at the same time increasing the percentage of energy conversion, it is believed that we could soon have a commercially viable product that can create 100% clean and 100% renewable fuel. All of this by simply by following Mother Nature’s recipe and sprinkling in a little science and technology.

For more information on Energy Efficiency products for your business or home, contact one of our advisors today at (800) 920-4631.


Matthew Helland


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