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Can artificial photosynthesis lead to clean energy?

As many of you already know plants can harvest energy directly from the sun in the process of photosynthesis. There are many ongoing scientific research with the aim to mimic this ability from plants and harness the sun's energy for clean, storable, efficient energy.

If this can be achieved, it would open plethora of new possibilities within the clean, renewable energy sector. 

This is because our Sun is practically unlimited source of energy, in fact it has been estimated that the amount of energy that hits the earth in one hour is enough to meet our planet's energy needs for an entire year.

This form of synthetic photosynthesis would allow storing energy easily, without requiring bulky batteries, and thus dramatically improve humans' ability to power society cleanly and efficiently.

In the process of photosynthesis plants convert the sun's radiation and water molecules into useful energy in the form of glucose. To do this, they require special pigment, usually the famous chlorophyll, as well as proteins, enzymes and metals.

Photosynthesis is capable capable of storing 60% of the sun's energy as chemical energy in associated biomolecules which is far more efficient compared to solar panels and their efficiency of around 20%.

The researchers at the Purdue's College of Science are mimicking the process by building their own artificial leaf analog that collects light and splits water molecules to generate hydrogen.

However,the progress in artificial photosynthesis is complicated, mostly because of the fact that photosynthesis is so multifaceted.

Nonetheless, researchers remain optimistic that within the next 10-15 years, enough progress will have been made that commercial artificial photosynthesis systems  to come online.

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