Documenting the Coming Singularity

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Turning over a new (artificial) leaf

We're closer than ever to replicating how plants turn sunlight into energy. It's a big deal.

ScienceNOW - September 29, 2011 by Robert F. Service

Two independent research teams report today in Science that they've taken key strides toward harnessing the energy in sunlight to synthesize chemical fuels. If the new work can be improved, scientists could utilize Earth's most abundant source of renewable energy to power everything from industrial plants to cars and trucks without generating additional greenhouse gases.

Today, humans consume an average of 15 trillion watts of power, 85% of which comes from burning fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas. That massive fossil fuel consumption produces some nasty side effects, including climate change, acidified oceans, and oil spills. These problems are likely to grow far worse in coming years, as worldwide energy use is expected to at least double by 2050.

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