Photosynthesis and solar technology
A scientist is recommending further study of photosynthesis as a means of advancing solar energy technology and, by extension, combating global warming.
Wed, Jun 01, 2011 at 12:08 PM
A new study argues that photosynthesis, the process by which plants use and store light for energy and food, could help scientists combat climate change.
The study, from Queen Mary University of London, breaks down the complex methods by which plants absorb sunlight in an effort to apply it to solar energy technologies.
"If we can somehow harness the capabilities of this magnificent mechanism and adapt these findings for the benefit of solar energy, our fight against climate change could become a whole lot easier," said Alexander Ruban, a professor from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences and the leader of the study.
In photosynthesis, plants have an antenna that not only absorbs sunlight, but also acts a "protective shield" that allows the plants to regulate how much sunlight they take in, said Ruban, who has been studying photosynthesis for 30 years.
A better understanding of how plants perform these operations could help scientists and engineers develop better solar panels and energy technology.
"If we can channel this regulation and intelligence into the production of solar energy, then the future of the earth could be a whole lot brighter," said Ruban.
The study was published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.