Danish researchers say they have made a discovery with the potential to transform the industrial production of fuels and chemicals, according to an article from Phys.org. The natural process, described as “reverse photosynthesis,” uses the energy in solar rays to break down plant biomass rather than build it. The process has possible applications in chemicals, biofuels or other products that take a long time to produce.
According to David Cannella, a University of Copenhagen researcher quoted in the article, the discovery means that biofuels and biochemicals can be produced faster, at lower temperatures and with enhanced energy efficiency, by using the sun. Reactions that currently take 24 hours could be reduced to 10 minutes. Reverse photosynthesis may also have the ability to convert plant-sourced methane into methanol under ambient conditions.
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