Solar Fuels and Food from Thin Air: The Bionic Leaf

  • Tuesday, August 02, 2022
  • 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
  • Zoom Meeting

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Daniel Nocera — Nocera Lab


Speaker:

Dr. Daniel Nocera

American chemist, and current Patterson Rockwood Professor of Energy in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University


The artificial leaf was named Time Magazine Innovation of the Year in 2011. Dr. Nocera has since further developed this invention to accomplish a complete artificial photosynthetic cycle.

To do so, he created the bionic leaf, which is a bio-engineered bacterium that uses the hydrogen from an artificial leaf and carbon dioxide from air to make biomass and liquid fuels. The bionic leaf performs artificial photosynthesis that is ten times more efficient than natural photosynthesis and was named by the World Economic Forum as the Breakthrough Technology of 2017.

Extending this approach, Nocera has achieved a renewable and distributed synthesis of ammonia (and fertilizer) at ambient conditions by coupling solar-based electrolysis to a nitrogen fixing bioorganism, which is powered by the resulting hydrogen.

Thus, using only sunlight, air and water, a distributed system powered by renewable energy has been created to produce fuel and food. Such science may be particularly useful to the poor of the world, where large infrastructures for fuel and food production are less available.

Join us for an interesting and engaging presentation of this breakthrough technology, followed by questions and discussion.



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