Tuesday, August 30, 2016

New bionic photosynthesis "leaves" plants in the dust

     Photosynthesis is one of the most simple and widely used sources of energy in nature and scientists have finally found a way to improve upon the design. The improved design isn't just a good thing for plants though. Using an alloy of cobalt and phosphorus as a catalyst, a leaf now could create isopropanol and isobutanol alcohol at rates ten times that of a normal, unaltered leaf. These types of alcohol could then be used as a fuel for everyday machines. It was not the first time that biologists took up the task, however.  
     Just last year the scientists from Harvard created a similar catalyst, nickel-molybdenum-zinc. That catalyst would have worked just fine if it hadn't killed the very cells that it was helping to run more efficiently. That small success helped to convince the team to continue their search for a better catalyst and brought them to where they are today.
     The setup that was tested by the scientists was powered by a set of solar panels that fed electricity to the system. The fact that it was powered by the sun, something you would expect from a photosynthesis invention, means that it can be used almost anywhere across the world. The versatility of this design could possibly provide a fuel source for remote tribes and civilizations that have little access to gasoline and other more common power sources.
     Bio fuels seem to be something that we have been hearing about for a long time. I for one have been seeing quite a bit about algae based fuels online and how great they would be for the environment because their only byproduct was water. This type of fuel appears to be the closest we have come to a totally environmentally friendly source of power, so if it can be made into something that creates alcohol on a large scale then the world of cars, motorcycles and planes may actually be helped out by a little booze for once. (Sorry airline pilots.)


  1. I completely agree with your statement about the potential versatility of this bionic leaf. This leaf has the capabilities to help combat poverty. If third world countries had access to electricity they could purify water, communicate with the rest of the world, and have better medical care. Like you said, this could also fuel our transportation which would alleviate a lot of the CO2 that is emitted into our atmosphere currently. Overall I like the prospect of this bionic leaf.

  2. I'm not so sure if this is ready to use on large scale. What do you concidered large scale. Also I'm not so sure about the efficiency of this or it even being clean energy. If you have one kilowatt hour from solar power you could almost power an average house. The average house uses 1.24 kilowatts per hour. And this would be completely emmision free. What would 60grams of alcohol do for you?