|Image Source: Argonne National Laboratory|
Refined by nature over a billion years, photosynthesis has given life to the planet, providing an environment suitable for the smallest, most primitive organism all the way to our own species.
While scientists have been studying and mimicking the natural phenomenon in the laboratory for years, understanding how to replicate the chemical process behind it has largely remained a mystery — until now.
Recent experiments at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have afforded researchers a greater understanding of how to manipulate photosynthesis, putting humankind one step closer to harvesting “solar fuel,” a clean energy source that could one day help replace coal and natural gas.
Lisa M. Utschig, a bioinorganic chemist at Argonne for 20 years, said storing solar energy in chemical bonds such as those found in hydrogen can provide a robust and renewable energy source. Burning hydrogen as fuel creates no pollutants, making it much less harmful to the environment than common fossil fuel sources.
Argonne National Laboratory:
Making fuel from light: Argonne research sheds light on photosynthesis and creation of solar fuel, Jo Napolitano