Artificial Photosynthesis

Artificial Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis is the process through which plants convert light energy into chemical energy to use as fuel. Researchers interested in alternate forms of energy have been looking into ways to artificially simulate photosynthesis and convert water and sunlight into fuel. This week the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) believes that they may actually be closer to finding a solution.

If you haven’t been following us, developing technologies is a subject that is near and dear to ATS considering that we test for and remove outdated storage tanks and even developed our own tank testing equipment. Scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are constantly creating new technologies that make our daily lives easier, streamline difficult processes, improve the environment, and generally bring us closer as a global community. Every Thursday, ATS brings you a new “tech” that we think is worth learning about!

One method to create energy from sunlight would be to use solar panels and harvest the energy. However, the scientists at the JCAP wanted to find a cheaper alternative. They created a device to harvest the sunlight directly. This device would allow them to split the water atoms into their hydrogen and oxygen gas forms.

The device from the JCAP uses a combination of electrolysis and silicon with cadmium-telluride solar cells to electrolyze the atoms. When combining the catalysts with the solar cells, the device functions both as an electrode and to harvest oxygen gas from the water molecules.

Creating a source of energy from sunlight and water seems like a great resource to have as the technology continues to develop.