A team of researchers at MIT have developed a process to replicate the natural process of photosynthesis in plants by engineering the M13bacterial virus that can split water into its constituent molecules that is hydrogen and oxygen using abundant solar energy.
The team hopes that the process can further be used to create hydrogen efficiently fromwater, which can later be used to produce electricity.
The process is based on photosynthesis where chlorophyll capturessunlight while catalysts promote the water-splitting reaction. In thiscase, the bacterial virus acts as the chlorophyll by capturing sunlightand then transfers the energy down its length, acting like a wire. Theprocess definitely needs some improvement before it can be commerciallyused for practical energy conversion.
To be cost-competitive, the process should be at least 10 times more efficient that natural photosynthesis and should be able to repeat thereaction almost indefinitely.