University of Georgia stops plant photosynthesis to generate solar power

University of Georgia interrupts plant photosynthesis to make truly green energy

There's a more efficient way to harvest energy from the backyard than by wiring up hapless critters. Researchers at the University of Georgia have proof: they've discovered a way to generate electricity from plants through hijacking the photosynthesis process. By altering the proteins inside a plant cell's thylakoids, which store solar energy, scientists can intercept electrons through a carbon nanotube backing that draws them away before they're used to make sugar. While the resulting power isn't phenomenal, it's still two orders of magnitude better than previous methods, according to the university. The protein modification method may have a rosier future, as well: the team believes that it could eventually compete with solar cells, producing green energy in a very literal sense.