Photosynthesis is the process plants use to convert sunlight into energy. Oxygen is produced as a by-product of photosynthesis when the water absorbed by plants is 'split'. It is one of the most important reactions on the planet because it is the source of nearly all of the world's oxygen. Hydrogen which is produced when the water is split could potentially be a green and unlimited source of renewable energy.
A new study, led by academics at the University of Cambridge, used semi-artificial photosynthesis to explore new ways to produce and store solar energy. They used natural sunlight to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen using a mixture of biological components and manmade technologies.
The research could now be used to revolutionise the systems used for renewable energy production. A new paper, published in Nature Energy, outlines how academics at the Reisner Laboratory in Cambridge's Department of Chemistry developed their platform to achieve unassisted solar-driven water-splitting.