Take air. Suck out CO2. Make fuel. A lab advance hints at a future for artificial photosynthesis that might help with climate change.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in Science!
Another science approach to removing all the fossil fuel carbon dioxide from our atmosphere...
It’s an idea that makes so much sense, if scientists can swing it: turn all the excess CO2 we’ve been pumping into the air, and that’s helping to dramatically heat up the planet, from a problem into a resource.
Scientists around the country and the world are trying to copy photosynthesis.
Chang’s effort at tackling the challenge looks nothing like those weeds outside his lab, or any other plant.
“It’s essentially like a fancy cup” he says. A cup full of cloudy liquid that he calls a broth, teeming with bacteria.
The bacteria in the cup don’t normally run on sunlight or eat CO2 like a plant does. So Chang and his colleagues essentially hacked them.
First, they had them bioengineered to feed on carbon dioxide instead of their usual diet of sugars. Then they needed an energy source so they could put that CO2 to work.
Chang calls it “sort of our 'Frankenstein' type of experiment, but if Frankenstein was solar-powered.”
I think these ideas are cool but I fear that they will be used by climate skeptics (= people whose source of revenue pollutes) as an argument to not reduce their emissions.
Those people are already using any excuse they can find not to reduce admissions.
At least there are people working on solutions despite that.