The 21st century transportation infrastructure is starting undergo major changes, as more flex fuel, natural gas and electric vehicles come online. But what about the fuel? There are some companies making biogasses but they’re still expensive. The Department of Energy is renewing its interests in one method of creating a transportation fuel from the sunlight by renewing its support of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) with $75 million in funding.
If scientists are able to develop such a drop-in replacement fuel. It could take carbon from existing resources like smoke stacks mix it with other things like water and solar power and make it into a usable fuel source that doesn’t add additional pollution to the atmosphere.
The center is investigating how to create transportation-system ready biofuels using artificial photosynthesis using sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. The idea is that such a fuel could reduce carbon dioxide use and result in cleaner burning fuel that is created via a process of artificial photosynthesis.
“Basic scientific research supported by the Department of Energy is crucial to providing the foundation for innovative technologies and later-stage research to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change,” said Under Secretary for Science and Energy Lynn Orr. “JCAP’s work to produce fuels from sunlight and carbon dioxide holds the promise of a potentially revolutionary technology that would put America on the path to a low-carbon economy.”
The new round of funding, which will support the JCAP efforts underway at the California Institute of Technology in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will focus on capabilities developed during the first five years of research into such fuels. That includes the development tools and unique experimentation that quickly makes and screens large libraries of materials to identify whether their components are ideal for artificial photosynthesis systems.
JCAP is one of the DOE’s Energy Innovation Hubs. The research at these centers are modeled after pervious efforts like the Manhattan Project, the Lincoln Lab at MIT, AT&T’s Bell Laboratories and more. The new funding will support five years of research into artificial photosynthetic-based fuels.Tweet