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What is the process of artificial photosynthesis?

What is the process of artificial photosynthesis?

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Artificial photosynthesis.

A phenomenon that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, particularly sugars, by means of the energy from sunlight is known as Photosynthesis. Photosynthesis takes place in plants, algae, and several species of bacteria. Photosynthetic organisms, since they can make their own food, are known as “photoautotrophs”. Almost all life either depends on photosynthesis directly  or indirectly for energy in their food. Photosynthesis is termed form the Greek word “photo” meaning “light”, Synthesis means putting together. In artificial photosynthesis scientists are trying to mimic the natural process of photosynthesis whereby sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide are used to convert into carbohydrates and oxygen. The genuine process that permits half of the entire photosynthetic reaction to occur is “photo-oxidation”. This half-reaction is vital in splitting water molecules as it releases hydrogen and oxygen ions. These ions are required to lessen carbon dioxide into a fuel. The simplest way by which it is potentially possible is with the help of an external catalyst, that can react fast to absorb the sun’s photons. It can solve fuel problems for us by producing inexpensive hydrogen for automotive or jet fuel

 

 

 

What are the problems scientists are facing with artificial photosynthesis development?

Artificial photosynthesis is being pursued to make liquid fuel from carbondioxide and water. Researchers at the Berkeley National Laboratory think this is going to be possible since discovering that nano-sized crystals of cobalt oxide can effectively carry out the critical part of the photosynthetic reaction which is the splitting of water molecules. The photo oxidation of the water molecule to hydrogen ions and oxygen is a an important half reaction in the process of artificial photosynthesis. The electrons released in this part of the reaction is used to reduce carbondioxide to form fuel. Having a catalyst that can effectively capture the photons and utilize them  fast enough so as to not waste the sunlight photons is crucial which scientists think the newly discovered cobalt nano crystals are capable of doing. When micron sized cobalt crystals were used the yield was very less but when the scientists replaced it with nanocrystals of cobalt the yield increased by 1600 times which is commensurate with the sunlight flux at ground level.  Photosystem II is a process in which manganese-containing enzymes serve as the catalyst for the photo oxidation of water molecules within a complex of proteins. Scientists at he berkeley institute say that the efficiency, speed and size of the cobalt oxide nanocrystal clusters are comparable to Photosystem II. The next step for them to do is have a use this catalytic component to develop a viable integrated solar fuel conversion system.

 

 

What are the Disadvantages of Photo electrochemical You do not have access to view this node?

  • Artificial photosynthesis cells (currently) last no longer than a few years (unlike PV and passive solar panels, for example, which last twenty years or longer).
  •  The cost for alteration at present is not advantageous enough to compete with fossil fuels and natural gas as a viable source of mainstream energy.

 

 

What is the possible Global Impact?

  •  Artificial photosynthesis is a renewable, carbon-neutral source of fuel, making either hydrogen, or carbohydrates. This sets it apart from the other popular renewable energy sources — hydroelectric, solar photovoltaic, geothermal, and wind — which produce electricity directly, with no fuel intermediate.
  •  Artificial photosynthesis may become an essential source of fuel for transportation.
  •  Artificial photosynthesis may offer an inexpensive mechanism for decreasing the pool of CO2 in the atmosphere, and thus mitigating its effect on global warming.
  •  An international conference on this topic is taking place in 2011 under the sponsorship of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Natural Sciences Sector.

 

 

What is the most recent Research in Artificial Photosynthesis?

Although other artificial photosynthesis methods have tried to use the photosynthetic parts of plants, Belcher, the Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and Biological Engineering at MIT and the lead author of the paper in Nature Nanotechnology, Yoon Sung Nam, pursued the method, plants use of having a natural pigment attract the sunlight and then using a catalyst to split the water into hydrogen and oxygen. Thomas Mallouk, the DuPont Professor of Materials Chemistry and Physics at Pennsylvania State University, describes the work as “an extremely clever piece of work that addresses one of the most difficult problems in artificial photosynthesis, namely, the nanoscale organization of the components in order to control electron transfer rates.” The concept behind artificial photosynthesis is to create a method of energy conversion using sunlight. But this preliminary research is a long way from providing an alternative energy source. Belcher believes that within two years, she expects to have a prototype device that can carry out the whole process of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen, using a self-sustaining and durable system.

 

To read more on photosynthesis and related information, click on the links below:


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