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A New Solar Energy Solution Inspired By Plants

By using an artificial photosynthesis approach that harnesses sunlight, we could be in a position to produce hydrogen without burdening the environment.

Scientists have come up with an amazing new way of artificially replicating what plants do all day long.

Photosynthesis is what allows all green plants to use sunlight to create vital nutrients to grow. And a similar effect can take place in a science lab using what’s called artificial photosynthesis.

Let me explain.

When you expose titanium oxide to light and water, the chemical reaction splits the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. 

And according to Tokyo Tech, this has a substantial potential impact on the way we produce energy.

Ordinary methods of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen require vast amounts of energy, and the result is less energy than you put in.

But by using an artificial photosynthesis approach that harnesses sunlight, we could be in a position to produce hydrogen without burdening the environment.

Researchers in Tokyo believe they are close to coming up with commercially viable solutions to generate all the hydrogen we need to power our lives from sunlight and water.

Their big breakthrough has come from modifying the structure of titanium oxide not just to absorb UV light, which is a very narrow wavelength of light. 

So far, they have produced different color crystals that work with the various colors of light and thereby become vastly more efficient.

Believe it or not, but these crystals simply need to soak in water with light exposure to produce hydrogen.

Watch the full video from Tokyo Tech below.



Chris is one of GreenCitizen’s writers who has been a long-time advocate of individual responsibility when it comes to the environment. He shares GreenCitizen's passion for making the world a better place every day of the year.

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