Bionic Leaf Tops Plants in Photosynthesis
Bionic Leaf 2.0, a new, artificial photosynthesis system developed by a team headed by Harvard University scientists, takes in carbon dioxide, water and sunshine to create a sugary fuel. Solar energy splits up a water molecule, and bacteria turn hydrogen and carbon dioxide into liquid fuel, mainly isopropanol, which could be used someday to power a car.
An improvement on their prior effort a year earlier, the new system has a catalyst made of cobalt and phosphorus, increasing the efficiency of the reaction to 10 percent. Normal photosynthesis in plants is just 1 percent efficient at converting solar energy to biomass. This technology has the potential to bring another type of solar energy to the planet, especially in the developing world.