Thanks to Sakis Koukouvis, I’ve just learned about a breakthrough in artificial photosynthesis achieved by researchers headed by Professor Sun at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden.
The researchers have designed a molecular catalyst able to convert water into oxygen and protons at speeds similar to natural photosynthesis.
“This speed increase opens the possibility of building large hydrogen production facilities, for example in the Sahara where sunshine is plentiful. Or we may be able to achieve far more efficient conversion of solar energy into electricity,” Sun says.
“I’m convinced that, within ten years, this type of research will lead to technology that’s inexpensive enough to compete with coal,” he continues. “It’s no surprise that [U.S. President] Barack Obama is investing billions of dollars in this area.”
This all sounds truly wonderful, from one perspective.
From another, it’s not going to be that great if we switch from burning up all the fossoil on our planet to converting its water into hydrogen — and burning all of that instead. In that event, the global warming brakes could be permanently set to ‘off’.
Other research suggests that while excessive worrying may have co-evolved with intelligence, humans are too optimistic for our own good.
I think we’d be wise to get to grips with our insatiable energy appetite before unleashing another potential frankenstein’s monster.