Using photosynthesis for Martian occupation – while making space travel more sustainable

In a study published in Nature Communications, scientists assess a new technique which could convert renewable, green energy from outside the Earth’s atmosphere. They are taking advantage of photosynthesis – the chemical process plants undergo every day to create energy – to help the space industry become more sustainable.

Researchers capture elusive missing step in the final act of photosynthesis

Photosynthesis plays a crucial role in shaping and sustaining life on Earth, yet many aspects of the process remain a mystery. One such mystery is how Photosystem II, a protein complex in plants, algae and cyanobacteria, harvests energy from sunlight and uses it to split water, producing the oxygen we breathe. Now researchers from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, together with collaborators from Uppsala University and Humboldt University and other institutions have succeeded in cracking a key secret of Photosystem II.

How a Record-Breaking Copper Catalyst Converts CO2 Into Liquid Fuels

Since the 1970s, scientists have known that copper has a special ability to transform carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals and fuels. But for many years, scientists have struggled to understand how this common metal works as an electrocatalyst, a mechanism that uses energy from electrons to chemically transform molecules into different products.

Scientists Capture Candid Snapshots of Electrons Harvesting Light at the Atomic Scale

A team of scientists led by Berkeley Lab has gained important new insight into electrons’ role in the harvesting of light in artificial photosynthesis systems.

Brookhaven Lab Partners in New $40 M Research Center to Convert Sunlight to Liquid Fuels

UPTON, NY–The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced $40M in funding over five years for a new research center aimed at developing hybrid photoelectrodes for converting sunlight into liquid fuels. Chemists from DOE’s Brookhaven National Laboratory will be key partners in this effort, dubbed the Center for Hybrid Approaches in Solar Energy to Liquid Fuels (CHASE), which will be led by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) and includes additional collaborators at Emory University, North Carolina State University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.

Berkeley Lab Part of Multi-Institutional Team Awarded $60M for Solar Fuels Research

The Department of Energy has awarded $60 million to a new solar fuels initiative – called the Liquid Sunlight Alliance (LiSA) – led by Caltech in close partnership with Berkeley Lab. LiSA will build on the foundational work of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP).

How JCAP Is Making Solar Fuels Shine

As we look back at a decade of discovery, we highlight 10 achievements by scientists at Berkeley Lab and the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis that bring us closer to a solar fuels future.