from the urls-we-dig-up dept
Solar energy is actually extremely abundant (obviously not at night). The problem is capturing it all without covering huge areas of land (or sea) in an economical way and then storing the energy efficiently so that we can use it when we need it (ahem, like at night). Nature has developed photosynthesis, but if we’re going to rely more heavily on solar energy, we’re going to need to improve on plants or come up with other ways to create and store solar energy. Here are just a few projects that rely on the sun to make fuel.
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is working on an artificial photosynthesis process that could produce hydrogen as a fuel. These scientists are looking at molecules designed to absorb sunlight and create an electrical current that can break water into molecular hydrogen and oxygen. [url]
- Natural photosynthesis isn’t all that efficient, so maybe researchers can augment plants with nanomaterials to give photosynthesis a little boost. Adding carbon nanotubes to chloroplasts can enhance photosynthesis by a measurable amount, but scaling this augmentation up might be tricky. Also, we should probably figure out how this actually works before we introduce this grey-green goo into the environment…. [url]
- The SOLAR-JET project is working on a chemical reactor that uses sunlight to power the production of syngas from just water and carbon dioxide. The syngas will be further reacted using the Fischer-Tropsch process to make a form of jet fuel (hence the name of the project). [url]
If you’d like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.
Filed Under: biofuels, carbon dioxide, chemistry, energy, fischer-tropsch, fuel, hydrogen, lawrence berkeley national laboratory, lbnl, nanomaterials, nanotech, nanotubes, photosynthesis, solar, solar-jet, syngas