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How to hijack photosynthesis?

How to hijack photosynthesis?

22|November|2017 - 2|February|2022
How to hijack photosynthesis?
Room 100

Hydrogen (H2) gas is a clean energy carrier featuring zero carbon emissions. However, of 90 million tons of H2 annually produced, more than 85 million tons are produced by steam reforming of fossil fuels, releasing massive amounts of CO2, CO and other pollutants into the atmosphere. To make H2 a sustainable energy source, it needs to be sustainable along the entire life cycle. We propose the development of H2 photoproduction by green algae. This is a promising solution since it does not require expensive, or hazardous raw materials (such as fossil fuels), and it consumes only water, some ubiquitous minerals, and sunlight. Photosynthetic hydrogen production from green microalgae is a promising and attracting way of renewably producing H2. Unfortunately, this method although promising, never left the lab since its discovery. The main reason for this stagnation has been the lack of an algae strain which can overcome the two scale up limitations: i) the oxygen sensitivity of the H2 production process. ii) energy loss to competing processes, mainly the sugar production.  Photosynthetic energy, channeled through electron flow, is primarily used to power the fixation of CO2 into organic matter, it can also power other limited processes, such as H2 production via the enzyme Hydrogenase. The key for diverting the energy from CO2 fixation to of H2 production or other chemicals is to unveil and exploit new photosynthetic hotspots, where electron flow can be redirected towards the chosen target. This is exactly what our lab does and will be described in the seminar, “how to hijack photosynthesis”


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