CO2 Re-Utilisation Possible Through Artificial Photosynthesis

Researchers have developed a new system that uses sunlight to convert waste carbon dioxide into valuable chemical products including; bio-plastics, pharmaceuticals and liquid fuels.

In natural photosynthesis, leaves harvest solar energy, while carbon dioxide is reduced and combined with water as part of the creation of biomass.

Licensed under CC credit Flickr user: Takashi Hososhima
Licensed under CC credit Flickr user: Takashi Hososhima

Chemical Scientists working at Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California Berkeley have created a system of semiconducting nanowires and bacteria that mimics the photosynthesis process.

In this artificial system, carbon dioxide is once again reduced and combined with water, but a set of nanowires harvest the solar energy delivering electrons to bacteria, and a variety of value-added chemical products are created.

The utilisation of waste sources in an advantageous way that adds value is fundamental to the circular economy. In this instance, the artificial photosynthesis process makes use of wasted CO2 in what is effectively solar-powered green chemistry.

The research has yet to specify where it intends to retrieve the waste CO2 from and that may yet be a challenge in scaling up these activities, but there are clearly economic incentives if the process can be brought to the market.

Source: Artificial photosynthesis method turns waste CO2 into fuels

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Seb Egerton-Read

Seb Egerton-Read

Seb writes daily content for Circulate across the full spectrum of the website's topics. Previously he has spent five years as a freelance writer for a number of websites and blogs. You can e-mail Seb at seb[at]

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