What is Artificial Photosynthesis

What is Artificial Photosynthesis?

By: Claire Breashears

In early education classes students learn what photosynthesis is, and why it is so important. Just in case you need a refresher, photosynthesis is the process in which plants create oxygen from carbon dioxide and which makes the earth an inhabitable planet for humans. 

Because of this reason alone, scientists wanted to research and discover a way to harness photosynthesis and create it artificially. Solar energy is an increasingly popular production method of clean energy, but is laking the efficiency that plants have. Solar energy is also not efficient in most areas because with intermittent sunlight comes intermittent solar power.  Scientists have now come up with a breakthrough method of artificial photosynthesis in a study published by the National Academy of Sciences. What this group of scientists have discovered is a catalyst that has two atoms made of the metal: iridium. The problem with artificial photosynthesis before this discovery was that the single atom structures that scientists were typically using before couldn't withstand the process in terms of longevity. 

This new two atom catalyst has been able to withstand more strain on it without wearing out like the previous one atom method. This has created stability in the artificial photosynthesis process, and is now able to harvest the solar energy and put that energy into chemical bonds. Overall, this budding new clean energy discovery is something to be watched closely and is a very exciting development in the research for clean energy.