Photosynthesis is an essential natural process that keeps not just plants, but just about everything else on Earth alive — including us. When plants convert carbon dioxide and water into carbohydrates, they feed themselves and emit oxygen for us to breathe. But what if we took a page out of nature’s book, and figured out how to use sunlight to produce hydrogen for fuel? “If it works it would be magical,” Bill Gates told Reuters, “because with liquids you don’t have the intermittency problem batteries. You can put the liquid into a big tank and burn it whenever you want.”
Artificial photosynthesis (AP) aims to split water in oceans, and possibly even rivers, into its hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon components using sunlight. Hydrogen produced via AP is readily usable in the fuel cells of electric cars being manufactured right now, and it can also be used to store solar energy. Liquid fuels like …
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