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.
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.
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.
When it comes to fixing carbon, plants have nothing on soil bacteria that can do it 20 times faster. The secret is an enzyme that “juggles” reaction ingredients. Scientists hope to optimize this process for producing fuels, antibiotics and other products from CO2.
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.
Mixtures of nanoparticles show promise for solar fuels production. For example, gold donor particles absorb sunlight well, but they need an acceptor material to efficiently make fuel. Now, scientists have found a way to count electrons as they transfer between the two materials during these chemical reactions.
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.
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).
Copper that was once bound with oxygen is better at converting carbon dioxide into renewable fuels than copper that was never bound to oxygen, according to scientists at Berkeley Lab and Caltech.
A new design has put the long-sought idea of artificial photosynthesis within reach
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.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a plan to provide up to $100 million over five years for research on artificial photosynthesis for the production of fuels from sunlight.