Researchers Harness The Power Of Photosynthesis To Create Electricity

Posted on October 10, 2012

If you are like me, you want our researchers to find new and creative ways to create electricity. It would seem that conventional energy sources are in danger of becoming extinct in years to come. I always find it reassuring when I hear about new ideas and new research in this area.

In the article I found on this subject researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Switzerland are developing a process that improves the efficiency of generating electric power using molecular structures extracted from plants. They are saying this breakthrough has the potential to make green electricity much cheaper and easier.

There’s a lot in this article that goes right over my head, but the idea is that this research can dramatically change the way we create energy. Using plant based materials instead of toxic chemicals to generate electricity; this system saves time, land, water and fossil fuels.

It seems that scientists have found a way to use the natural occurrence of photosynthesis in plants to produce electricity. They are saying that the fossil fuels we use today were once plants that also used photosynthesis to transform the suns energy.

“To produce the energy, the scientists harnessed the power of a key component of photosynthesis known as photosystem-I (PSI) from blue-green algae. This complex was then bioengineered to specifically interact with a semi-conductor so that, when illuminated, the process of photosynthesis produced electricity. Because of the engineered properties, the system self-assembles and is much easier to re-create than his earlier work. In fact, the approach is simple enough that it can be replicated in most labs — allowing others around the world to work toward further optimization.
“Because the system is so cheap and simple, my hope is that this system will develop with additional improvements to lead to a green, sustainable energy source,” said Bruce, noting that today’s fossil fuels were once, millions of years ago, energy-rich plant matter whose growth also was supported by the sun via the process of photosynthesis.” Read More

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