Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Artificial Photosynthesis

Interesting innovation - solar furnace that uses sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water to carbon monoxide and hydrogen. These are necessary inputs in the Fischer-Tropsch process of synthesizing liquid hydrocarbons. So, this is effectively artificial photosynthesis. At the moment, the efficiency is no better than plant-based photosynthesis and the reactors would be more expensive than harvesting crops presumably. But with efficiency gains this might be a viable way to generate liquid fuels for aircraft and other applications where current electric technologies are not viable. Seems that it is one more nail in the coffin of the "hydrogen economy". Separating the low density hydrogen here would make no sense, I think. An article in Science provides details.

1 comment:

  1. They could never be as efficient as Green plants, which has to do with co-operation properties.