Latest in Science

Image credit:

Berkeley's artificial photosynthesis turns carbon dioxide into future fuel

91 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Sponsored Links

Whenever a scientific discovery claims to have solved one of the world's most critical issues, it's hard not to get a little bit excited. Today, our hopes are riding high on the news that Berkeley University might have just worked out how to solve the problem of climate change. Working in collaboration with the Department of Energy and the University of California, researchers have developed a system that captures carbon dioxide and turns it into chemicals that can be used to make plastics, drugs and, even better, biofuel.

Put simply, the system is an artificial form of photosynthesis using a series of semiconducting nanowires and genetically engineered E.coli bacteria. Whereas a plant would absorb carbon dioxide and produce sugar and oxygen, this system creates acetate, a building block for various organic compounds.

In terms of its practical applications, the team can already extract promising if not yet useful quantities of each substance. For instance, the process kicks out a 26 percent yield of butanol (biofuel), 25 percent amorphadiene (base component for anti-malaria drugs) and 52 percent amounts of PHB (biodegradeable plastic).

With more time, money, research and some luck, the team hopes to get those figures up to a level where the technology is commercially viable. If the system can be then created on a large enough scale, the carbon in the atmosphere could be captured and converted into a sustainable green gas for your vehicle that wouldn't require pulling more fossil fuels out of the ground.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
91 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share
Save

Popular on Engadget

The best mobile devices for students

The best mobile devices for students

View
Porsche streamlines the Taycan EV’s infotainment system

Porsche streamlines the Taycan EV’s infotainment system

View
Lenovo’s Smart Clock becomes a more capable home hub

Lenovo’s Smart Clock becomes a more capable home hub

View
Wirecutter's best deals: Save $60 on an Acer Chromebook 11

Wirecutter's best deals: Save $60 on an Acer Chromebook 11

View
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review: Weird, but in a good way

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ review: Weird, but in a good way

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr