Artificial Photosynthesis – New Way to Develop Fuel


Researchers are now one step closer to develop a fuel with the help of artificial photosynthesis. They are converting CO2 into a complex molecule such as propane, and then use excess carbon dioxide in storing solar energy.

Researchers developed an artificial process with the same amount of green light to convert CO2 and water into fuel. During this process, electron-rich gold nanoparticles acted as a catalyst. The objective of this research is to produce liquefiable and complex hydrocarbons from a surplus amount of CO2 and other sustainable resources like sunlight.  Prashant Jain a chemistry professor at the University of Illinois said. He further added that the use of liquid fuels is more appropriate, as it is safe and economical, and safer to transport. Liquid fuel is made from long-chain molecules; consist of more bonds, thus having higher density.

Use of Hydrocarbon in Powering Fuel Cells to Generate Voltage 

Another researcher Sungju Yu used metal catalysts to transfer protons and electrons and absorb green light required for chemical reactions between water and carbon dioxide. This takes up the role played by the pigment chlorophyll during natural photosynthesis. Though there are multiple ways to free the energy stored in bonds of the hydrocarbon fuel.

But more importantly, an easy conventional method of combustion ends up producing excessive carbon dioxide. This is contradictory to the notion of storing and harvesting solar energy.  Moreover, hydrocarbon created from this process has other better uses. A significant use is in powering fuel cells.