- Environmental problems caused by greenhouse gases like CO2 are becoming more prominent.
- Artificial photosynthesis aims to reduce CO2 levels by transforming it into organic compounds that can be used as raw materials.
- A research team led by Professor Yutaka Amao and graduate student Mika Takeuchi has successfully synthesized CO2 into fumaric acid using only sunlight.
- This breakthrough in artificial photosynthesis is a step towards reducing CO2 levels and addressing global warming.
The impact of global warming, i.e., environmental problems caused by greenhouse gases like CO2, has become increasingly visible in recent years. In natural photosynthesis, CO2 is not reduced directly. CO2 is bound with organic compounds to produce glucose or starch.
The Goal of Artificial Photosynthesis
Artificial photosynthesis aims to mimic this process by combining CO2 into organic compounds that can be utilized as raw materials that can be converted into durable forms such as plastic, thereby reducing CO2 levels.
A research team led by Professor Yutaka Amao from the Research Center for Artificial Photosynthesis and graduate student Mika Takeuchi from Osaka Metropolitan University has made a breakthrough in artificial photosynthesis, successfully synthesizing CO2 into fumaric acid, a raw material for plastics, using only sunlight for the first time.
It is a major step forward in the effort to reduce CO2 levels and address environmental problems caused by global warming. The results of their research have been published in the journal Sustainable Energy & Fuels.
Fumaric acid is typically derived from petroleum and is a key raw material used in the production of biodegradable plastics such as polybutylene succinate.
However, a recent discovery shows that fumaric acid can now be synthesized from CO2 and biomass-derived compounds using renewable solar energy.
This research, led by Professor Yutaka Amao, has successfully harnessed the power of visible light, renewable energy, as the power source, making it a significant step toward the practical application of artificial photosynthesis.
The team’s future goal is to collect gaseous CO2 and use it to synthesize fumaric acid through AP directly.