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HARNESSING THE POWER OF PHOTOSYNTHESIS FOR CLEAN ENERGY

  • By Admin
  • May 3, 2024
  • 89 Views

The University of Cambridge, with the help of laser technology, is paving a new path to harnessing power from photosynthesis to utilize in the energy sector.

As most schoolchildren were taught, photosynthesis is the process by which green plants, algae, and some bacteria convert light energy into chemical energy stored in glucose (a type of sugar) using carbon dioxide and water. This process occurs in the chloroplasts of plant cells.

The simplified steps are:
1. Absorption of Light: Chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, absorbs sunlight.
2. Conversion of Light Energy to Chemical Energy: The absorbed light energy is used to split water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen ions. This process is known as photolysis.
3. Carbon Fixation: Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere enters the leaves through small pores called stomata. Inside the chloroplasts, carbon dioxide combines with hydrogen ions from the photolysis of water to form glucose.
4. Production of Oxygen: Oxygen, a byproduct of the photolysis of water, is released into the atmosphere through the stomata.

Recently, scientists have used lasers to observe what’s happening at the start of photosynthesis and are using detailed pictures of the cells as those cells capture electron s. Simply put, once the electrons are observed, the charges could be intercepted and then used to capture the energy produced.

In this way, photosynthesis could serves as a dual solution, providing renewable energy and acting as a natural process for carbon sequestration, offering a sustainable pathway for energy production while mitigating the effects of climate change.

Said Dr. Laura Wey, former researcher at University of Cambridge, ““Since the electrons from photosynthesis are dispersed through the whole system, that means we can access them…The fact that we didn’t know this pathway existed is exciting because we could be able to harness it to extract more energy for renewables.”