Obama Administration provides more funding to renewable energyMay 1, 2015
$75 million in funding being made available to support artificial photosynthesis
The Obama Administration has announced $75 million in funding for the pursuit of artificial photosynthesis. Mimicking photosynthesis has become a popular topic in the science community, especially when it comes to energy. As renewable energy becomes a more important priority for the United States, finding ways to efficiently harvest power from the sun and use this energy for various purposes is gaining more support.
JCAP will be using funding to pursue advances in artificial photosynthesis
The funding will be issued to the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP), a part of the Department of Energy. JCAP was first established in 2010 with the purpose to generate fuel from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. Artificial Photosynthesis has been accomplished on a small scale in some instances, proving that solar energy can be used to generate fuel. In most cases, this is used to produce hydrogen fuel, which can be used by a fuel cell to produce electrical power. Hydrogen can also serve as a form of chemical storage for some forms of renewable energy.
JCAP may unlock a way to use renewable energy to produce clean fuels
JCAP intends to use the new funding it has received to develop mass production solar-fuel generators. These generators will be comprised of earth-abundant materials, which may make them less expensive than other photovoltaic technologies. The generators are being designed to only use solar power, water, and carbon dioxide, using these to produce fuels ten times more efficiently than conventional fuel production methods. The organization’s mission may seem lofty, but work in the field of artificial photosynthesis has been progressing at a rapid pace.
Artificial photosynthesis could make hydrogen a more attractive form of energy
Artificial photosynthesis could have a major impact on the popularity of hydrogen. While fuel cells have been around for several decades, they have only recently begun to see more use in various industries. The production of hydrogen fuel relies heavily on natural gas, which is a type of fossil-fuel, making hydrogen somewhat environmentally detrimental. Using solar power to produce hydrogen could help reduce the costs associated with its production and, by extension, make fuel cells a more attractive option when it comes to sustainable energy.