It seems the day is not far when we will have clean & green flyingmachines instead of the gas guzzling jets which rules the sky today.Nathan Lewis, a chemist at the California Institute of Technology inPasadena, has come up with a new technology called artificial photosynthesis where solar energy will be converted directly into fuel instead of energy.
The Photovoltaic (PV) cells created by Mr. Lewis splits water moleculesto generate hydrogen gas. The cells are so powerful & efficient that they are capable of converting sunlight into chemical energy 10 to 40times more times more efficiently than most crops.
But work is far from being finished. The biggest challenge that lies ahead will be the formation of hydrocarbons by combining hydrogen withcarbon dioxide similar to the structure of diesel or aviation turbinefuel (ATF). Currently no established commercial processes exist fordoing that. But the man behind all this seems confident & hebelieves that within 5 years they will have a working prototype.
The market for alternative fuel is huge & still growing. Due toall hoopla surrounding global warming, many nations are looking towardsclean energy to power their future needs. Many private firms, therefore, looking to cash in on this opportunity by creating alternative sourcesenergy at an affordable price.
In a similar experiment of sorts, last year in July, an airplanecovered with PV cells was flown in Switzerland. The plane, aptly namedSolar Impulse, flew for 26 hours before coming back on the ground.