University of East Anglia (UEA, Norwich, U.K.) scientists have received GBP 800,000 for a research project to artificially replicate photosynthesis - the process by which plants transform sunlight into energy.
This new process of harnessing energy from the sun to is likely to be far more efficient than existing solar converters, UEA emphasizes. The energy created will be used to produce hydrogen, a zero-emission fuel which can power vehicles or be transformed into electricity.
UEA will build a system for artificial photosynthesis by placing tiny solar-panels on microbes to harness sunlight and drive the production of hydrogen
Solar energy for the manufacture of carbon-based fuels, drugs and fine chemicals
"We will build a system for artificial photosynthesis by placing tiny solar-panels on microbes. These will harness sunlight and drive the production of hydrogen, from which the technologies to release energy on demand are well-advanced," stated Lead Researcher Prof Julea Butt, from UEA's school of Chemistry and school of Biological Sciences
"We imagine that our photocatalysts will prove versatile and that with slight modification they will be able to harness solar energy for the manufacture of carbon-based fuels, drugs and fine chemicals."
The research will be undertaken with colleagues from the University of Leeds and the University of Cambridge. It is funded by the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
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