Photosynthesis to Convert Sunlight into Fuel - Dream Health

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Monday 24 September 2018

Photosynthesis to Convert Sunlight into Fuel

As the concern over the burning of fossil fuels to meet our energy consumption grows, scientists are looking for alternatives that do not affect the environment. One such alternative is to use renewable sources of energy such as sunlight. Since sunlight was first used as an energy source for solar panels, it has become an increasingly sought after source of renewable energy. But using solar panels is not easy as the costs are prohibitive to their wide spread adoption. Hence, the use of photosynthesis to harness solar energy.

Photosynthesis splits water into hydrogen and oxygen components. By using this process scientists and others can use the resultant split hydrogen to get a new energy source.

Photosynthesis to give us fuel: 

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants get their fuel or energy. The sunlight is used in photosynthesis to break up water into oxygen and hydrogen. This hydrogen can then be used by us to make fuel.

Photosynthesis is one of the most important reactions in the world as most of our oxygen comes from it. The hydrogen that is produced from the photosynthesis process could be a potential source for a greener source of renewable energy.

Scientists have used a semi- artificial form of photosynthesis to produce hydrogen to use as an energy source by harnessing the sun’s energy.

The use of Semi Photosynthesis to produce a Renewable source of Energy: 

Scientists at St John’s College used sunlight to convert water into its oxygen and hydrogen components. They did this by using a mixture of biological components and manmade tech.
The method of semi natural photosynthesis so discovered can absorb more energy than your natural photosynthesis process there by giving more energy.

Limitations of Natural photosynthesis: 

Like all life and its associated processes, natural photosynthesis too has evolved to survive. This has resulted in natural photosynthesis producing about only 1% to 2% to meet all their energy needs.
The potential to store and convert more energy is much greater, but you can get only so much from natural photosynthesis.

So to boost up energy, artificial photosynthesis was discovered decade ago.

The Problem of Artificial Photosynthesis: 

Artificial photosynthesis uses catalysts to create energy. These catalysts are expensive and toxic to use, hence using artificial photosynthesis is not of much use.

Artificial photosynthesis cannot be used in an industrial setting as they would need to be scaled up to match such a setting making it a very costly enterprise.

The team behind semi- natural photosynthesis uses enzymes to create energy which is not expensive.

Making use of a Dormant Enzyme: 

Scientists used an enzyme commonly found in algae in their semi- natural photosynthesis process to give energy.

By using this enzyme, the amount of energy produced and stored increases.

During evolution, the process by which the enzyme which is used to reduce protons into hydrogen, in algae had been deactivated as it was not essential for survival.

Now by reactivating this process, scientists are able to make use of semi- natural photosynthesis to produce renewable energy.

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