At some point in our life, most of us came across the term “photosynthesis”. It is the ability of a plant to produce food for itself by using sunlight.
Scientists have spent ages studying and understanding this phenomenon so they can replicate this process and put it into use.
They can finally use the power of photosynthesis to create energy with efficiencies far greater than that by the plants.
Berkeley Lab Makes a Breakthrough
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, managed by the University of California, maintains its reputation as a major international center for physics research. They recently devised a method to convert carbon dioxide directly to ethanol and ethylene.
There have always been methods to convert carbon dioxide into energy but those systems reduced it to chemical and fuel precursors (a substance from which another is formed, especially by a metabolic reaction).
This method is efficient and practical as it produces ethanol (a commonly used fuel) directly, just like in plants!
Relevance to Climate Change
Joel Ager, a Berkeley Lab scientist says
“As rising atmospheric CO2 levels change Earth’s climate, the need to develop sustainable sources of power has become increasingly urgent. Our work here shows that we have a plausible path to making fuels directly from sunlight.”
CO2 emissions are a key element of global warming. If this new method of photosynthesis is conducted in many place, chances are that it can help deplete and harness the CO2 from the atmosphere, essentially helping lead the fight against global warming in a significant way.