Light and photosynthetic pigments
Artificial photosynthesis is the biological process in which sunlight is used to prepare the nutrient for the plant with the help of the green pigment, i.e, chlorophyll. However, when the sun sets there is no way that the plant can prepare their meal. It now becomes a technology which mimics the photosynthesis in nature; the use of nano-sized light-sensitive materials will be converted to light energy, resulting in oxidoreductase reaction. In short, it is a useful technology that uses light energy to produce the same chemicals as in natural process.
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The energy from the sunlight transforms into the chemical energy due to which it becomes more suitable for its storage. In this conversion, side products are not produced like the greenhouse gases. On the contrary, in the process carbon dioxide can be utilized in the same way as it does in plants. The chlorophyll present in the leaves captures sunlight, and a set of enzymes and other proteins uses this light to split water molecules into hydrogen, electrons, and oxygen (protons). Electrons and hydrogen are used to convert carbon dioxide into nutrients for the plant, and oxygen is released into the atmosphere. To recreate photosynthesis in artificial conditions, two key steps are necessary: the ability to collect solar energy, and the ability to split water molecules.
Experimenters first used a cobalt metal, phosphorus, and indium-tin-oxide electrode placed in water to create a new catalytic device that relies on current generated by external sources of energy (such as solar energy, wind energy, etc.) , A catalyst flowing through the electrode and consisting of cobalt and phosphoric acid, using the catalytic action of cobalt and phosphorus to cause the water to produce hydrogen and oxygen which are collected at both poles. This process is very similar to photosynthesis, especially using solar energy as a source of electricity. Hydrogen and oxygen can be used directly for combustion, pollution-free. Moreover, the energy produced by the combination of hydrogen and oxygen can be stored in proton exchange membrane fuel cells, enabling uninterrupted power supply both day and night. But splitting the water molecule is not so simple; it requires about two and a half electron volts of energy. Therefore, we need a catalyst that “pushes” the chemical reaction.
The Artificial Leaf Project and MIT’s Artificial Photosynthesis Research are all devoted to solving the process of converting water to organic matter and releasing hydrogen and oxygen, creating a leaf that resembles the greenery of nature even more than it Optimized device to become a highly efficient solar energy conversion device. However, the research process is very difficult, but also very challenging. Researchers in this process have done many experiments, such as they have tried to use other raw materials as a catalyst, although it can catalyze the hydrolysis reaction, the effect is not as expected, only through multiple experiments to add other Material, can we expect catalytic efficiency can be improved. According to researches, this process consumes carbon dioxide much faster than the natural process