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MacArthur 'genius' grant winner creates artificial leaves that photosynthesize
By SP_COP on September 29, 2015 | From
MacArthur 'genius' grant winner creates artificial leaves that photosynthesize It took nature millions of years to figure out how to turn energy from the sun into chemical energy that can be stored for a cloudy day - a process known as photosynthesis.

It took Peidong Yang, a chemist at UC Berkeley, about 10 years to accomplish a similar feat with the help of semiconductor nanowires and bacteria.

That's one of the reasons he was awarded a "genius" fellowship from the MacArthur Foundation on Monday.

Yang and his collaborators have created a synthetic leaf that uses the same ingredients as photosynthesis - water, sunlight and carbon dioxide - to produce liquid fuels like methane, butane and acetate. And just like nature's version of photosynthesis, it releases oxygen into the air.

The technology is still several years from being commercially viable, but it represents an important step on the road to creating a truly carbon-neutral and sustainable fuel system.

"The feasibility of artificial photosynthesis has been demonstrated based on our earlier experiments," Yang said. "We just need to keep pushing this research frontier."...
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NAMES: Peidong Yang
TAGS: artificial, awards, Chinese-born American chemist, creation, MacArthur Awards, material scientist, photosynthesize, winner