Cornell University researchers use microbes to produce energy from sun and CO2

December 15, 2020 |

In New York state, Cornell University bioengineers have found a way to efficiently absorb and store large-scale, low-cost renewable energy from the sun – while sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide to use later as a biofuel.

The key: Let bioengineered microbes do all the work.

Researchers have assembled theoretical solutions and models that calculate efficiency in microbes, which could take in electricity and store carbon dioxide at least five times more efficiently than photosynthesis, the process by which plants turn sunlight into chemical energy.

In the paper, the researchers suggest taking advantage of microbial electrosynthesis, in which incoming electrons are fed directly to an engineered microbe, which would convert carbon dioxide into non-carbon molecules. More research is necessary to determine the best microbes for the job.

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Category: Research

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