With researchers successfully splitting the water into hydrogen and oxygen by altering the photosynthesis machinery in plants, the quest of harnessing solar power in different ways has got a renewed hope.
The latest study by academics of University of Cambridge led by St John ‘s College put semi-artificial photosynthesis to use to formulate a new strategy of producing and storing solar energy. The academics used a blend of modern technologies and biological components to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen from natural sunlight. The methodology also resulted in more absorption of sunlight in comparison to the natural process of photosynthesis.
This unique platform to achieve unassisted solar-driven water-splitting is developed at the Reisner Laboratory in Cambridge and it is expected that the key findings of this research may now revolutionise the systems used for renewable energy.
The issue of scaling process of renewable energy creation through artificial photosynthesis for industrial usage was marred by the fact that catalysts used in the process are often expensive and toxic. However, the Cambridge research instead used the enzymes to create the desired result thus overcoming the limitation.
Researcher Katarzyna Soko along with her team managed to reactivate a process in the algae that has been dormant for millennia. Researchers are now hopeful that innovative model systems for solar energy conversion can be developed through the findings.
Lead researcher Soko asserted that the findings of this research can lead to the emergence of more robust solar power technology.
“The approach could be used to couple other reactions together to see what can be done, learn from these reactions and then build synthetic, more robust pieces of solar energy technology,” she said.
This is first of its kind model to use hydrogenase and photosystem II for creating semi-artificial photosynthesis supported entirely by solar power.
The research has been published in Nature Energy journal.