Die Neuerfindung der Photosynthese

PASADENA – Jahrzehntelang ging es bei der Entwicklung der erneuerbaren Energien – und in der politische Debatte dazu – hauptsächlich um die Erzeugung von Elektrizität. Aber über 60% der weltweiten Energieversorgung erfolgt ohne zwischengeschaltete Umwandlung in Strom direkt über chemische (hauptsächlich fossile) Treibstoffe. Keine realistische Maßnahme gegen Kohlenstoffemissionen im Kampf gegen die globale Erwärmung kann diese grundsätzliche Einschränkung ignorieren.

In der Tat können in den Vereinigten Staaten und anderen Industrienationen viele Anwendungen, die auf fossilen Treibstoffen beruhen (wie Flugverkehr oder Aluminiumproduktion) nicht so umgestaltet werden, dass sie mit Strom funktionieren. Darüber hinaus werden fossile Brennstoffe auch zur Stromerzeugung benötigt – sowohl zur Befriedigung der Nachfrage, als auch dazu, die Unterbrechungen bei der Stromversorgung durch erneuerbare Energien wie Wind- oder Solarstrom zu überbrücken. Gibt es wirklich eine skalierbare Alternative mit geringem Kohlenstoffausstoß?

Ein vielversprechender Ansatz ist die künstliche Photosynthese, die nichtbiologische Materialien verwendet, um Treibstoff direkt aus Sonnenlicht zu gewinnen. Die Sonne ist eine fast unerschöpfliche Energiequelle, und Energie, die – wie in fossilen Brennstoffen – chemisch gebunden ist, ist leicht zugänglich, effizient und bequem. Künstliche Photosynthese kombiniert diese Eigenschaften in einer praktikablen Technologie, die Versorgungssicherheit, ökologische Nachhaltigkeit und wirtschaftliche Stabilität verspricht.

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