再造光合作用

帕萨迪纳—几十年来,可再生能源的开发——以及围绕这一话题的政策争论——大体上集中于发电。但全世界超过60%的能量由化学(主要是化石)燃料直接供应,并没有经过电能中转。只要是通过减少碳排放对抗全球变暖的现实努力,都无法绕过这一根本性约束条件。

事实上,在美国和其他工业化国家,许多依赖化石燃料的应用(如航空运输和生产铝)无法靠电能实现。此外,发电也需要化石燃料,这既是为了满足需求,也是为了克服风能和太阳能等可再生能源系统的间断问题。果真存在大规模的低碳替代方案吗?

一个大有希望的方向是人造光合作用,该技术用非生物材料直接从阳光中生产燃料。太阳是几乎永不耗竭的能量源,而储藏在化学介质——如化石燃料——中的能量易得、有效、方便。人造光合作用以一种可靠技术结合了这些优点,能够带来能源安全、环境可持续性以及经济稳定。

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