Turbo-charging photosynthesis -- by which plants and bacteria turn sunlight into food and energy -- in an "artificial leaf" could yield a vast commercial power source, scientists said.
Photosynthesis is"unfortunately not very efficient," Anne Jones, assistant professor and biochemist at Arizona State University, told the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Vancouver this weekend.
"In fact, all of our current fossil fuels are products of this process," she said. But photosynthesis efficiency "could be boosted to increase food yields or sustainable biofuel production."
The world's energy consumption is expected to surge by 100 percent in the next 40 years.
Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
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