Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Artificial photosynthesis breakthrough: Fast molecular catalyzer

Date:
April 12, 2012
Source:
Expertanswer
Summary:
Researchers have constructed a molecular catalyzer that can oxidize water to oxygen very rapidly. In fact, these scientists have managed to reach speeds approximating those of natural photosynthesis. The speed with which natural photosynthesis occurs is about 100 to 400 turnovers per seconds. Scientists have now reached over 300 turnovers per seconds with their artificial photosynthesis. The research findings play a critical role for the future use of solar energy and other renewable energy sources.

Grass. Scientists have imitated natural photosynthesis and created a record-fast molecular catalyzer.
Credit: © Nejron Photo / Fotolia

Researchers from the Department of Chemistry at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden, have managed to construct a molecular catalyzer that can oxidize water to oxygen very rapidly. In fact, these KTH scientists are the first to reach speeds approximating those is nature's own photosynthesis. The research findings play a critical role for the future use of solar energy and other renewable energy sources.

Researchers all over the world, including the US, Japan, and the EU, have been working for more than 30 years on refining an artificial form of photosynthesis. The results have varied, but researchers had not yet succeeded in creating a sufficiently rapid solar-driven catalyzer for oxidizing water.

"Speed has been the main problem, the bottleneck, when it comes to creating perfect artificial photosynthesis," says Licheng Sun, professor of organic chemistry at KTH.

But now, together with research colleagues, he has imitated natural photosynthesis and created a record-fast molecular catalyzer. The speed with which natural photosynthesis occurs is about 100 to 400 turnovers per seconds. The KTH have now reached over 300 turnovers per seconds with their artificial photosynthesis.

"This is clearly a world record, and a breakthrough regarding a molecular catalyzer in artificial photosynthesis," says Licheng Sun.

The fact that the KTH researchers are now close to nature's own photosynthesis regarding speed opens up many new possibilities, especially for renewable energy sources.

"This speed makes it possible in the future to create large-scale facilities for producing hydrogen in the Sahara, where there's an abundance of sunshine. Or to attain much more efficient solar energy conversion to electricity, combining this with traditional solar cells, than is possible today," says Licheng Sun.

He points to the problem of skyrocketing gasoline prices, and these advances with the rapid molecular catalyzers can in turn lay the groundwork for many important changes. They make it possible to use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into various fuels, such as methanol. And, technology can be created to convert solar energy directly into hydrogen. Licheng Sun adds that he and his research colleagues are working hard and pursing intensive research to make this technology reasonably inexpensive.

"I'm convinced that it will be possible in ten years to produce technology based on this type of research that is sufficiently cheap to compete with carbon-based fuels. This explains why Barack Obama is investing billions of dollars in this type of research," says Licheng Sun.

He has conducted research in this field for nearly twenty years, more than half of that time at KTH, and adds that he and many other researchers see efficient catalyzers for oxidation of water as key to solving the solar energy problem.

"When it comes to renewable energy sources, using the sun is one of the best ways to go," says Sun.

The research findings are of such importance that they have recently attracted the attention of the scientific journal Nature Chemistry.

The research pursued by Licheng Sun and his colleagues is funded by the Wallenberg Foundation and the Swedish Energy Agency. They collaborate with researchers at Uppsala University and Stockholm University, and, together with Professor Lars Kloo at KTH, they run a joint research center involving KTH and Dalian University of Technology (DUT) in China.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Expertanswer. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lele Duan, Fernando Bozoglian, Sukanta Mandal, Beverly Stewart, Timofei Privalov, Antoni Llobet, Licheng Sun. A molecular ruthenium catalyst with water-oxidation activity comparable to that of photosystem II. Nature Chemistry, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nchem.1301

Cite This Page:

Expertanswer. "Artificial photosynthesis breakthrough: Fast molecular catalyzer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120412105430.htm>.
Expertanswer. (2012, April 12). Artificial photosynthesis breakthrough: Fast molecular catalyzer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120412105430.htm
Expertanswer. "Artificial photosynthesis breakthrough: Fast molecular catalyzer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120412105430.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

UN Joint Mission Starts Removing Landmines in Cyprus

AFP (Apr. 23, 2014) — The UN mission in Cyprus (UNFICYP) led a mine clearance demonstration on Wednesday in the UN-controlled buffer zone where demining operations are being conducted near the Cypriot village of Mammari. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — With Pacific ocean water already showing signs of warming, the NOAA says there's about a 66 percent chance the event will begin before November. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins