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"Semiconductor nano crystals and bacteria equals energy?" Topic

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179 hits since 25 Aug 2017
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Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP25 Aug 2017 5:42 p.m. PST

Some interesting info from the American Chemical Society

"Photosynthesis provides energy for the vast majority of life on Earth. But chlorophyll, the green pigment that plants use to harvest sunlight, is relatively inefficient. To enable humans to capture more of the sun's energy than natural photosynthesis can, scientists have taught bacteria to cover themselves in tiny, highly efficient solar panels to produce useful compounds."



jfleisher25 Aug 2017 6:14 p.m. PST

Cool! And I work for the American Chemical Society…

Charlie 12 Inactive Member25 Aug 2017 6:20 p.m. PST

Very cool! Be interesting to see what develops from this (and related) technologies.

Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian25 Aug 2017 7:01 p.m. PST

Solar-powered bacteria? What harm can it do… evil grin

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP26 Aug 2017 5:53 a.m. PST

Not much unless the bacteria figure out how to reproduce the solar receptors when they reproduce. Think about it.

Of course all our current means of generating power have no harmful effects, right? wink

Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP26 Aug 2017 9:29 a.m. PST


Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP28 Aug 2017 5:45 a.m. PST

So these non-photosynthetic bacteria can now synthesize acetic acid (vinegar) very cleanly, using the sunlight, carbon dioxide and water. (The sensors are another matter.)

Acetic acid has many, many uses. One of interest here, is as a metabolite for other bacteria (such as Clostridium Acetobutylicum) which can convert the acetic acid to butanol. Apparently, butanol can be used to fuel any gasoline internal combustion engine. The CO2 released by the combustion engine is offset by the CO2 used in the photosynthesis.

So much for the chemistry. The real crunch is the cost. The cadmium used in the photosynthetic crystals isn't cheap and is also very toxic. And I have no idea how much the butanol fuel may cost from this process. Right now butanol is typically made from propylene which comes from fossil fuels.

But that is just one potential use.

goragrad30 Aug 2017 8:02 p.m. PST

Just a little cadmium to mine, process, use, and then dispose of.

No environmental negatives in that process compared to current energy sources.

Personal logo Bowman Supporting Member of TMP02 Sep 2017 4:53 a.m. PST

Just a little cadmium to mine, process, use, and then dispose of.

No environmental negatives in that process compared to current energy sources.

I wonder if those that mine, process, utilize and dispose of cadmium would agree. And that is based on current levels of cadmium use. What will happen if the scenario I outlined above becomes a full production concern? Perhaps the used cadmium can be recycled?

By the way, some of you may have paints with the cadmium sulphoselenide (for orange and red pigments) and cadmium sulphide (for yellow pigments). I'm a notorious "brush licker" (I know, terrible habit) and apparently the cadmium is not (as) toxic when bound to a sulphur compound. The cadmium allows for better coverage and opacity for these problem colours.


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