26th January 2013
Artificial photosynthesis could solve global warming
Panasonic is developing a form of artificial photosynthesis – the same system used by plants and other organisms to convert water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbohydrates, using sunlight. In the future, it is hoped this could be scaled up to industrial-sized facilities, absorbing CO2 from factories and other infrastructure.
The system could produce substances like ethanol as a by-product, for use in generating energy. Panasonic has achieved a world record in terms of solar to chemical energy conversion, with efficiency close to that of real plants. The scale of humanity's challenge in terms of reducing atmospheric CO2 levels is vast, but this new system looks very promising and has major potential if developed further.