We all know about photosynthesis. Plants take water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight to create energy. What if we could harness energy in the same fashion?
Artificial photosynthesis is still being researched. Scientists are attempting to create a system that can harvest sunlight and split water molecules. Hydrogen would be released, and could be used as fuel or used in a fuel cell. Some systems also produce methanol, a fuel used already in heating, cars, etc.
There are many problems facing scientists now. First of all, they need a catalyst to spur the reaction. Manganese, the catalyst in plants, is unstable and doesn’t last long in man-made set-ups. They are experimenting with cobalt oxide and titanium dioxide, but these aren’t very abundant, and more natural catalysts either degrade or set off chain reactions.
There is still a lot of research to be done, but wouldn’t it be amazing if we could power our world as cleanly and efficiently as vegetation?