Light-activated, single-ion catalyst breaks down carbon dioxide

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Wendy

Joined Mar 24, 2008
22,156
It all depends on how fiddly it is. If it doesn't need TLC it may compete fairly well. Plants in general are pretty fragile, unless you are talking algae.
 

Tesla23

Joined May 10, 2009
406
That's interesting but I'd love to see a thermodynamic analysis of whether this technology could ever hope to compete against green plants. I suspect it cannot.
Plants aren't that good - only capturing about 1% of sun's energy. There are better artificial systems in the lab (3-4%),
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601641/a-big-leap-for-an-artificial-leaf/
and even better for using sunlight to split water molecules (up to 22%):
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610177/the-race-to-invent-the-artificial-leaf/
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,399
Plants aren't that good - only capturing about 1% of sun's energy. There are better artificial systems in the lab (3-4%),
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601641/a-big-leap-for-an-artificial-leaf/
and even better for using sunlight to split water molecules (up to 22%):
https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610177/the-race-to-invent-the-artificial-leaf/
Comparing a plant supplied 400ppm CO2 to a catalytic system fed pure CO2 isn’t quite fair. The proper comparison is: How many acres are devoted to commercial agriculture versus how many to catalytic conversion? We all know the answer. These technologies are fascinating but not yet commercially viable.
 

Tesla23

Joined May 10, 2009
406
Comparing a plant supplied 400ppm CO2 to a catalytic system fed pure CO2 isn’t quite fair. The proper comparison is: How many acres are devoted to commercial agriculture versus how many to catalytic conversion? We all know the answer. These technologies are fascinating but not yet commercially viable.
That's why I said "in the lab".

Also, reading past the first paragraph you find:
“The 10 percent number, that’s using pure CO2,” says Nocera. Allowing the bacteria themselves to capture carbon dioxide from the air, he adds, results in an efficiency of 3 to 4 percent—still significantly higher than natural photosynthesis.
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,399
These technologies are fascinating but not yet commercially viable.
It'll be interesting to see when the first commercial (not subsidized) facility opens. I'd put money on it not being in the next 10 years. We may have fusion first.
 
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