Artificial Photosynthesis

Wednesday, 07 February, 2001

Australian researchers are developing technology that may help to combat the Greenhouse Effect and create food and an alternative source of fuel at the same time.

Scientists at CSIRO's Telecommunications and Industrial Physics are developing artificial photosynthesis, which copies what plants do by taking light and carbon dioxide and converting them to energy to produce food. The researchers hope that this technology will be used one day to clean up carbon dioxide waste and reduce the Greenhouse Effect.

In nature, leaves absorb carbon dioxide from the air and convert it to sugar and other carbon products. By imitating this process with a mix of manufactured materials instead of chlorophyll, researchers are hoping to develop technology that can reduce the large amounts of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere from power stations and cars.

Byproducts of the process could be a valuable alternative fuel, methane, or even food in the form of starches and sugars.

The research is still in its early days, but has started to show encouraging results.

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