Producing oxygen and energy directly from the sun is one thing that plants are best known for, meaning the process of photosynthesis. Trying to somehow mimic this process is a ‘must’, as the gathered energy can be used as fuel for different applications, like powering an entire city.
TechXplore.com brings us the exciting news of Yulia Puskhar, a biophysicist from Purdue’s College of Science, who has high hopes that humans will be able to perform artificial photosynthesis in the near future. She may have found a way to harness solar energy by mimicking plants.
Synthetic photosynthesis is the key
While wind and solar power harnessed by photovoltaic cells are the most important forms of clean energy, synthetic photosynthesis could be the perfect alternative. With photovoltaics and wind turbines having their disadvantages, Pushkar hopes that artificial photosynthesis could bypass those issues. The scientist declared, while cited by TechXplore.com:
With artificial photosynthesis, there are not fundamental physical limitations,
You can very easily imagine a system that is 60% efficient because we already have a precedent in natural photosynthesis. And if we get very ambitious, we could even envision a system of up to 80% efficiency.
Photosynthesis is massively efficient when it comes to splitting water, a first step of artificial photosynthesis. Photosystems II proteins in plants do this a thousand times a second. Blink, and it’s done.
Commercial artificial photosynthesis systems will become so prevalent in the future that they will be made available online. That is the optimistic prediction of Yulia Puskhar, as she believes that tremendous scientific progress will be made, and it will all become a reality within the next 10 to 15 years.
Plants are performing photosynthesis via organelles called chloroplasts, and other organisms are also capable of such an amazing process: algae and cyanobacteria.