Artificial photosynthesis

Authors: Gust, D., Moore, T.A., and Moore, A.L.
Title: Artificial photosynthesis
Source: Theoretical and Experimental Plant Physiology
Year: 2013
Volume: 25
Pages: 182-185


Photosynthesis is the largest-scale, longest-tested, and most important solar energy conversion system on earth. Photosynthetic organisms provide fuel for most of the biosphere, and generated the fossil fuels that account for about 85% of the energy used today by human technology. In a time in which humans are searching for ways to limit society’s contribution to climate change and reduce fossil fuel dependence and its associated geopolitical and supply problems, it is natural to turn to photosynthesis for solutions. Researchers are searching for ways to improve the efficiency (<1% in most cases) and environmental impacts of using natural organisms to supply fuels. However, there is another approach: artificial photosynthesis. The idea of using the basic science underlying photosynthesis in the design of systems for making solar fuels has been discussed for over 100 years (Ciamician 1912). In spite of this, no viable technology for synthesizing fuels using sunlight can currently compete with fossil fuel utilization. A great deal of progress has been made in recent years, however. Some of this progress will be illustrated here with examples from our laboratories and those of our colleagues.

Date of online publication: Fri, 2013-11-08
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