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Can photosynthesis be used in other areas?

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Postby DevGrp » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:59 pm

It probably would be theroretically possible to engineer another organism to allow photosynthesis but why?

A more practical and cost effective approach would be to grow plants in a field and then use the resulting biomass / oil as fuel to drive your car / power station.

A lot of research is already being done on using Biofuel as an alternative fuel source.

The fields of the world are likely to get more varied as alternative "non-food" crops are grown to produce Biofuel.
Hopefully this wont just be fields and fields of yellow rape !
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Postby mith » Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:36 pm

The thing with biomass is efficiency. To grow the amount of corn,for example, to power a car would be the equivalent to how much could be used to feed a small 3rd world nation. I'm not saying exactly but that's my point. Whenever you convert from one form of energy to another you lose some energy. So the point of a biological photosynthetic solar cell is to efficiently obtain that energy.
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Postby cytochromeP » Thu Apr 07, 2005 5:52 am

biostudent84 wrote:Photosynthesis is not a process used to produce energy. It is a process of capturing energy from the sun to break apart Carbon Dioxide and Water, and to recombine the atoms into Glucose, a chemical used for producing ATP.

Kyle


All living things (all chemical reactions) require a thing called Gibbs free energy for the reaction to occur at all. Plants and other photosynthetic beings(blue-green algae...) are the only ones who "pump" Gibbs free energy into our eco-system.
Conclusion: Photosynthesis is very much a process used to produce energy, or to put it precisely "capture the solar energy and channel it to our eco-system's free-energy-pool".
Should the plants stop doing there job our system would eventually run out of free energy and forget life - even ordinary chemical reactions would'nt occur.
As far as the question of "electricity from photosynthesis" concerned I reccommend a visit to the following link: (Title :Future army could run on alternative fuels, photosynthesis)
http://news.uns.purdue.edu/UNS/html4eve ... nergy.html
This area of research is called "biological photovoltaics".
I myself would like to believe that one day extracting electricity from photosynthesis would become possible, especially when nanotechnology develops the necessary tools for achieving this goal.
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Postby catfishjim » Mon Jan 23, 2006 11:52 pm

I agree that it would be difficult to tap photosynthetic cells for electricity in practice, but it might just be a matter of figuring out the right technology.

It seems to me that, potentially at least, deriving electricity directly from photosynthesis should be more efficient than going through the storage process first and then burning the plant (e.g., wood, alcohol. or canola oil) to release the heat energy.

But if burning fuels is undesirable because of the CO2 released, one question would also be, Can you derive electricity directly from the photosynthetic process in such a way that the CO2 released into the air is less than if it were burned?


Here is an article about getting electricity from trees- I don't know how serious it is. I think I will try the experiment, though.

http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2005 ... 84393.html
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Postby catfishjim » Tue Jan 24, 2006 2:07 pm

mithrilhack wrote:The thing with biomass is efficiency. To grow the amount of corn,for example, to power a car would be the equivalent to how much could be used to feed a small 3rd world nation. I'm not saying exactly but that's my point. Whenever you convert from one form of energy to another you lose some energy. So the point of a biological photosynthetic solar cell is to efficiently obtain that energy.


Hello Mithrilhack!

I read something not long ago that said using sugar from Brazilian sugar cane to make gasohol would be price-competive with gasoline right now, but that the sugar industry in developed countries wouldn't put up with it.

Here is a different article that says about the same thing: "Unlike Brazil, U.S. producers make ethanol from corn, which is a far less efficient source, yielding four times less energy than sugar. Ethanol prices in the U.S. are less competitive than in Brazil. U.S. producers are protected by a 54 cent per gallon tariff on Brazilian ethanol. "

http://www.forbes.com/2005/11/15/energy ... adams.html
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Postby mith » Tue Jan 24, 2006 6:59 pm

Interesting, but are cars really that much more important than people? Think of the ways the land could be used instead.
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Postby catfishjim » Wed Jan 25, 2006 8:20 am

mithrilhack wrote:Interesting, but are cars really that much more important than people? Think of the ways the land could be used instead.


I'm not sure how you mean that in practical terms. What would you use the land for? The sugar cane is already being produced, it's just not being sold in the US because of protectionism (and the oil lobby?). If you mean we should ditch all other activities until we can produce enough food for everyone: I have read that there is plenty of food right now, if only those who have it would just give it to those who don't...

But without access to the kind of energy resources we have come to view as normal, our capability for all sorts of things would be reduced, including producing food at current levels. If energy resources get scarce, it will be impossible to maintain economic activity and the living standards we are used to. A reduction in economic activity would have far-reaching political and social consequences that would probably be negative for everyone involved, but especially for those who are already hurting.

At the same time, there is the climate change issue. We need to find energy sources that have less impact on the atmosphere, even though it may already be too late to stop some of the effects of global warming.
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Postby catfishjim » Wed Jan 25, 2006 7:57 pm

Thanks for that post about biological photovoltaics, it is really interesting. I looked at the link, but one gets the impression that nobody but military is interested in this field. Do you know of any universities where they are into the subject?
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Postby catfishjim » Thu Jan 26, 2006 10:42 pm

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/stor ... Id=5173420

Here is an NPR feature about gasohol. They didn't pick up on the Brazilian sugarcane thing, though.
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Re: Can photosynthesis be used in other areas?

Postby retoohs » Wed Apr 29, 2009 2:47 am

For anlternative check this out using synthetic photosynthesis to produce hydrogen instead of oxygen http://www.futurehi.net/archives/000159.html
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Postby leftventricle » Mon Nov 15, 2010 8:40 pm

Is it true that photosynthesis only allows plants to make glucose and for them to use the glucose in their systems, they need to do cellular respiration to make ATP?
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Postby JackBean » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:03 am

photosynthesis produces ATP, which is then used in accordance to current plant needs. In the nigth they of course need to respirate, but during the day they are able to cumulate the mass
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

Cis or trans? That's what matters.
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