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Q & A: photosynthesis and electricity

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
Can we produce electricity by harnessing the power of the green plant pigment "chlorophyll"? If yes, please give me some websites where I can find more details on this area.
- arun (age 20)
sastra university, tanjore , tamil nadu , india
A:
Arun- We do that indirectly all the time when we burn fossil fuels or wood to generate electricity in power plants. Their stored chemical energy comes from photosynthesis.
I think what you want to know may be whether we can get the energy out directly in electrical form, without going through the inefficient step of burning chemical fuel.
Of course there's a lot of research on improving photo-electric generation. It's mostly done now with silicon devices, which are fairly efficient but expensive. I wouldn't be surprised if some work is being done on using chlorophyll-based systems. You can probably use Google as well as we can to search for sites on "chlorophyll electricity generation" or something like that.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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