Industry News

Bacteria + micro solar panels, photosynthesis can be done with just one barrel!

2018-09-29
Photosynthesis in nature is one of the ways to make effective use of sunlight. However, the photosynthesis efficiency of nature is generally not high. The conversion rate of most plants converting sunlight into biomass is only 0.1%-0.2%, even if it is biological reaction. The microalgae under the conditions of the device is currently only 1-2%.

Therefore, scientists have been hoping to jump out of the plant's perspective and be able to artificially use sunlight to "cottage" photosynthesis. Artificial photosynthesis is a process of collecting "liquid sunlight" to reduce carbon dioxide and produce high-value chemicals through clean and green processes. The product converts sunlight into liquid fuel for storage.

One of the methods of artificial photosynthesis is to combine bacteria with inorganic semiconductors. Nano-semiconductor particles mainly collect sunlight, which mimics the role of chlorophyll in natural photosynthesis.

At the recent 254th National Chemical Society National Conference & Expo, the Kelsey K. Sakimoto team from Lawrence Berkeley Labs in the United States proposed a new type of miniature solar panel, a hybrid system of bacteria. The system utilizes cadmium sulfide (CdS) nanoparticles to transform non-photosynthetic bacteria Moorella thermoacetica. The surface of the solar panel is composed of cadmium sulfide nanoparticles that can capture solar photons. Photoexcited cadmium sulfide CdS can produce photogenerated electron-hole pairs. And used to participate in chemical reactions in artificial photosynthesis.


Figure 丨 bacterial modified CdS bioreactor (left); light-absorbing nanocrystals (middle) convert sunlight, carbon dioxide, water into useful chemicals (right)

They then stated that the CdS-Moorella thermocatica system can use light to reduce carbon dioxide to acetic acid. Acetic acid is a versatile chemical that can be used to make polymers, pharmaceuticals, and liquid fuels, and 5-20% of the vinegar in the kitchen is made up of acetic acid. The Sakimoto team is also working to convert carbon dioxide into other chemical fuels such as methanol, liquid hydrogen and other liquid fuels.

Sakimoto? said: "Once these tiny solar panels are 'installed' with these bacteria, bacteria can all use solar energy to produce food, fuel and plastic." So why do you need a medium like solar panels? Because only photovoltaic cells can convert all sunlight into a stream of electrons, natural photosynthesis simply transforms it into the food needed for plant growth.


Figure 丨 bacterial modified CdS bioreactor (left); light-absorbing nanocrystals (middle) convert sunlight, carbon dioxide, water into useful chemicals (right)

They then stated that the CdS-Moorella thermocatica system can use light to reduce carbon dioxide to acetic acid. Acetic acid is a versatile chemical that can be used to make polymers, pharmaceuticals, and liquid fuels, and 5-20% of the vinegar in the kitchen is made up of acetic acid. The Sakimoto team is also working to convert carbon dioxide into other chemical fuels such as methanol, liquid hydrogen and other liquid fuels.

Sakimoto? said: "Once these tiny solar panels are 'installed' with these bacteria, bacteria can all use solar energy to produce food, fuel and plastic." So why do you need a medium like solar panels? Because only photovoltaic cells can convert all sunlight into a stream of electrons, natural photosynthesis simply transforms it into the food needed for plant growth.