Daily Current Affairs 2021 Artificial photosynthesis to provide solutions for carbon capture and conversion | Daily Current Affairs 2021

Artificial photosynthesis to provide solutions for carbon capture and conversion

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A team of Scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India (GoI) have found a method to mimic nature’s own process of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, namely photosynthesis, to capture excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Key Points:

  • The scientists from JNCASR designed and fabricated an integrated catalytic system based on a metal-organic framework (MOF-808).
  • The system comprising of a photosensitizer (molecules which absorb light and transfer the electron from the incident light into another nearby molecule) can harness solar power and a catalytic centre that can eventually reduce CO2.
  • The artificial photosynthesis (AP) method harnesses solar energy and converts the captured carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide (CO).
  • Then this CO can be used as a fuel for internal combustion engines.
  • The work described above has been accepted for publication in the journal ‘Energy& Environmental Science’ of Royal Society of Chemistry, UK.

About Photosensitizer:

  • Photosensitizers are molecules which absorb light (hν) and transfer the energy from the incident light into another nearby molecule.
  • It is chemically called “ruthenium bipyridyl complex ([Ru(bpy)2Cl2])”.
  • It also comprises of a catalytic part called rhenium carbonyl complex ([Re(CO)5Cl]).
  • Both of the molecular entities lie in the close proximity and are confined to a nano-space of the porous metal-organic framework system.
  • This helps in absorbing the CO2 at room temperature.
  • The catalyst has the capability to oxidize the water in order to produce oxygen.
  • This photocatalytic assembly is when assessed to reduce the CO2 under direct sunlight under a water medium, it produces CO.

About Artificial Photosynthesis:

  • Artificial photosynthesis is a chemical process that biomimics the natural process of photosynthesis to convert sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen.
  • The term artificial photosynthesis is commonly used to refer to any scheme for capturing and storing the energy from sunlight in the chemical bonds of a fuel (a solar fuel).
  • Photocatalytic water splitting converts water into hydrogen and oxygen and is a major research topic of artificial photosynthesis.
  • Light-driven carbon dioxide reduction is another process studied that replicates natural carbon fixation.

Difference between Natural photosynthesis and Artificial photosynthesis:

Natural photosynthesis is very inefficient in terms of solar-to-biomass conversion.

Artificial photosynthesis short-circuits the natural process by utilizing the most energetically efficient primary events of light capture, charge separation and charge transfer.

About JNCASR:

  • Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) is a multidisciplinary research institute located at Jakkur, Bangalore, India.
  • It is an autonomous institute which was established by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of the Government of India, to mark the birth centenary of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was the first prime minister of independent India.

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