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Home News Hacking photosynthesis: Could artificial leaves fuel the future?

Hacking photosynthesis: Could artificial leaves fuel the future?

When viewed on a long enough timeline, most of our energy derives from the sun.

There’s solar power, the obvious example. Wind, too, is a product of the sun’s irregular heating of Earth’s air. Fossil fuels are little more than the disinterred remains of ancient photosynthetic organisms. And biofuels come from crops like corn, soybeans, and even seaweed — each of which relies on sunlight to grow.

Richard Baker / Getty

Our dependence on fossil fuels is, of course, ruining the planet, and the jury is still out on the scalability and sustainability of many biofuels. But there are other ways to harness sunlight. Just look at the leaves of any plant. They might not look like much but within these thin, green slivers are living power stations, where abundant inputs automatically produce energy-rich outputs.

As demand for renewable energy sources increases, researchers have turned to leaves to develop a technology that replicates the process plants use to convert sunlight, water, and CO2 into energy. Called artificial photosynthesis, the technology could potentially provide clean and renewable fuel for the future. Just last month, the Department of Energy announced it would provide up to $100 million for artificial photosynthesis research in an effort to spark innovation in a technology that has so far struggled to make it out of the laboratory.

Building on Mother Nature’s success

It probably won’t come as a surprise that artificial photosynthesis works much in the same way as natural photosynthesis, in which leaves suck up CO2 and use sunlight to convert the gas and water into sugars. Artificial photosynthesis isn’t an exact replica of its inspiration, however, because “plants are not optimal energy conversion machines,” according to Nathan Lewis, a chemist at the California Institute of Technology and principal investigator at the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, which the Department of Energy launched in 2010. As an example, Lewis points to the common color of plants.

“[Plants] should be black, not green, to absorb most of the colors in the solar spectrum,” he said, “And they have other constraints, too. They’re just good enough to do the functions they need to do biologically.”

At just one to two percent efficiency, typical crop plants are efficient enough to survive but relatively inefficient when it comes to producing fuels to power civilization. By improving on natural photosynthesis, Lewis thinks researchers will be able to create a technology that photosynthesizes at least ten times more efficiently than even the fastest plants.

The blueprint for photosynthesis has been around for billions of years and calls for just a few key components: light absorbers, catalysts, and a container to hold it all together. In plants, those roles are carried out by chlorophyll, enzymes, and a cell membrane.

“We basically need to store energy when it’s being produced so we can use it when we don’t have it available.”

In artificial photosynthesis, solar cells replace chlorophyll, absorbing sunlight and converting it into electricity. In that regard, the technology is already here. But creating catalysts to split water into oxygen and hydrogen pose a different challenge.

When it comes to catalysts, researchers have generally split into two camps—those like Lewis, who want to create inorganic catalysts using cheap metals, and those like Harvard professor of energy science Daniel Nocera, who want to put biology to work and use bacterial enzymes like those found in natural leaves. The various approaches used in different labs span the spectrum, said Lewis, from purely synthetic to entirely biological, including the use of genome editing to create black “Franken-plants,” that grow vigorously and produce fuel more efficiently than natural leaves. And although he and Nocera have been depicted as rivals in the race towards developing an artificial leaf, Lewis said, “They’re all valid approaches.”

A new kind of green energy

The idea for artificial photosynthesis has been around for a long time, according to Jenny Yang, a chemist at the University of California, Irvine, who researches catalysts for artificial photosynthesis. But there has been renewed interest in recent years for its potential to aid in the expansion of renewable energy.

“The biggest problem with renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydro is that they’re seasonal or even daily,” she said. “We basically need to store energy when it’s being produced so we can use it when we don’t have it available.” The need to store surplus energy can cause challenges for the energy grid. California utilities sometimes pay utilities in neighboring states to take their excess solar electricity in order to stabilize their energy grids, Yang explained. “But if every state wants to move towards renewables, then we won’t have the option to give it away.”

Mischa Keijser/Getty Images

So, what might artificial leaves look like? One idea is for photosynthetic tarps that can be rolled out “like the ground crew taking care of a baseball stadium before it rains,” said Lewis. Solar cells within the tarp would split water into more reactive compounds which, when fed into a tank full of catalysts, would convert CO2 into carbon-neutral chemical fuels that can be stored, shipped, or used on the spot.

One of the key promises of artificial photosynthesis is its potential to provide renewable energy for communities spread out within developing countries, which lack the infrastructure needed to store massive amounts of energy and stabilize power grids during periods of high production and peak demand. With artificial photosynthesis “there’s no need to set up that infrastructure,” Yang said. “If this technology can get to a point of commercialization…you don’t have to build huge infrastructure and transport chains in order to have this carbon neutral economy.”

That future is still years away. However, researchers continue to make steady, albeit slow, progress in the right direction and the recent promise of additional funding from the Department of Energy means the technology could soon see a much-needed boost in innovation. Lewis estimated that a workable model could be developed in the next couple years, with a commercial product arriving in the next decade or so.

That said, artificial photosynthesis is not a cure all for our energy woes. Experts estimate that we have about 10 years to get climate change under control—avoiding the worst impacts will require a swift shift towards clean, renewable energy. In other words, we can’t wait.

But thanks to nature, which has long inspired human invention, artificial photosynthesis may provide a piece to the puzzle of sustainable energy. From the humble leaf could grow a greener, cleaner fuel for the future.


Hoverwatch keylogger for Android

A keylogger Android application is basically any software or program that allows you to monitor or watch the keystrokes of someone else by recording these keystrokes while they use their Android smartphones. The application then allows you access to the recorded information. Since the whole point of a keylogger Android app is to be able to monitor someone without their knowledge, keylogger applications have enhanced features that ensure that the monitoring process is carried out in a stealthy manner. We shall go into full details of the features and particularly those of the Hoverwatch keylogger for Android later on in the article.When it comes to the legality of using hacking software programs such as the keylogger Android application, such programs are for one legal to own or possess. However, when a keylogger App is used for criminal purposes such as identity theft or stealing then the use of such application is illegal and thus punishable under federal law as well as state laws. It is an offense to secretly install a keylogger on another person’s phone.Using information that has been illicitly obtained from a keylogger application is also an offense on its own. It is however important to take note that in some states the surreptitious use of keylogger apps is legal and especially so in an employer-employee relationship.About the Hoverwatch keylogger Android applicationKeylogger programs can sound so intimidating particularly because a lot of computer lingua is associated with programs of this kind. It would not therefore come as a shock to wonder whether the use of a keylogger Android application and in this case Hoverwatch, requires any special knowledge whatsoever in the installation and use of such apps.If you have a similar question or doubts as to the same then the answer is simply that no special know how or skills is required for one to install and use Hoverwatch. Hoverwatch is a completely user-friendly application and just about anyone from a guru down to a lay man can make their way through the Hoverwatch app.Navigation through the Hoverwatch application is also particularly made easier with the step by step guide on the process of installation as well as use that is available in Hoverwatch.com website.There is so much ease with how you can get data from any Android phone with Hoverwatch keylogger for Android. All you have to do after installing Hoverwatch in any phone you would like to monitor is to log in to your Hoverwatch online account.This could be from any device and the result is that you will get access to all the information that has been recorded from the phone you are monitoring. And just like that you will have all the data without breaking a sweat. Isn’t that very easy?Now that some basic information about Hoverwatch has been established it is time to get into the details of some of the features that have been integrated into the Hoverwatch keylogger application for Android . These features include:The invisibility featureThis is the most essential feature of Hoverwatch keylogger Android App. This particular feature ensures that the Hoverwatch app stays hidden so that your monitoring activities stay hidden from those being monitored. This in turn means that accurate information is obtained and especially for parental control purposes.Tracking of text messages and callsWith this feature you can track all the outgoing as well as incoming calls and text messages. It also allows you to view any images sent via MMS from your personal Hoverwatch account.Geolocation featureThe specialty of this feature is in physical tracking; that is, you can get the geographical location of the monitored Android device just from your account.SIM card replacementThe SIM replacement feature proves helpful by allowing you to still be able to monitor an Android device even after a SIM card is replaced or even removed by the user of the monitored device.Whatsapp, Facebook and viber trackingConversations held through these mobile applications including all the images, videos and audios shared are recorded and made accessible to your online account thanks to this feature.Tracking of up to five devicesAn installation of the Hoverwatch parental control gives you the opportunity to monitor a maximum of five devices.Other features of the Hoverwatch keylogger app include;Front camera photoSnapchat spyContacts trackingAndroid screenshotsTodo list trackingPhone internet history trackingSupport and pricing policy of the Hoverwatch keylogger Android applicationThe Hoverwatch support application provided for in the Hoverwatch website goes a long way in promoting the user friendliness of both the website and the app. Here is where the step by step guide on the installation process for the Hoverwatch keylogger Android app is contained.It is also at this section that any inquiries from the users can be made. Removal instructions are also contained in this section in the event someone would like to uninstall the Hoverwatch application.The pricing policy of the Hoverwatch keylogger Android application is categorized into three plans that is; the personal, business as well as professional plans. Each of these plans then has subcategories of a one month plan, three months plan and lastly a twelve months plan. It is absolutely up to each individual user to evaluate and choose a plan that best suits them.In conclusion, knowing the activities and whereabouts of our loved ones is very vital if at all we are to ensure that they are safe and protected at all times. One way of doing this is through keylogger Android applications such as Hoverwatch.Great care should however be exercised by users in terms of understanding the scope of the privacy laws in one’s state. Use of the Hoverwatch app for ulterior motives should be refrained and if not the liability of such use falls entirely on the user. If you are searching for a keylogger app for Android then you should definitely give the Hoverwatch keylogger Android application a try.

10 can’t-miss deals for the Fourth of July weekend

Believe it or not, the first half of 2020 is finally over. It’s July and we’re ready to tackle the rest of the year. It’s time for hot days and hotter deals.The 4th of July is the perfect time to save on new gadgets, gear, and gizmos. If you’re on the hunt to pick up something new for yourself, a loved one, or a friend, consider the following offers.While these deals are already worth your attention, we’re here to sweeten things up even more. For a limited time you can save an extra 15% on your purchase by entering coupon code JULYFOURTH15 at checkout on purchases of $50 or more.Jam Audio Tune In Neckband Style Bluetooth HeadphonesDon’t change the channel — Tune In’s ergonomically designed collar rests on your neck for up to 12 hours of playtime. These earphones let you play music from your device via Bluetooth technology. Use it during workouts, jogging, or commute. The neckband style makes sure that you won’t lose your earphones no matter what you do. $30MOZA Mini-Mi Wireless Charging Smartphone GimbalCapable of stabilizing your phone for stunningly smooth shots, gimbals are already pretty impressive, but the MOZA Mini-MI goes one step further. Engineered with wireless charging tech, this smartphone gimbal keeps your device energized while you record. $95VILTA-M Pro 3-Axis Handheld Smartphone Stabilizer GimbalTake your video shoots to the next level with this VILTA-M Pro 3-Axis Handheld Smartphone Stabilizer Gimbal. Made for creative, adventurous production, the VILTA-M Pro features various focus and zoom settings choices for cinematic quality footage. $119Robo 360° Rotation Smart AI Object Tracking GimbalThe Robo Smart Gimbal lets you film yourself totally hands-free. Using AI technology, Robo automatically recognizes your face and follows you wherever you go. It proceeds to intelligent shooting with infinite 360° rotation — once your face is detected, it starts taking pictures or videos automatically. $40LOFT Battery Base for Google HomeGoogle Home has great voice-controlled features and quality audio but falls short when it comes to portability, as it must remain plugged-in to work. LOFT is a portable battery base that solves this problem by making Google Home cordless, thus portable, so you can move your device from room to room with ease. $17JOT Battery Base for Google Home MiniThe JOT is a portable, battery base for your Google Home Mini designed to provide rechargeable, cord-free mobility at your fingertips. Simply nest the Google Home Mini securely into JOT to untether and enjoy cordless use anywhere in your home. $17datAshur PRO² 256-bit Encrypted USB 3.2 Flash DriveWe usually use flash drives for on-the-go storing and transferring of files whether for school, work, or business. But sometimes these very ordinary drives are prone to malware as well as easy targets to hacking. Never compromise your data again! datAshur® PRO² is a fully-encrypted flash drive that gives advanced security to your portable data. $80CleanTray UV Light Sterilization CaseLet’s face it. Your phone and other daily items are 10 times dirtier than most toilet seats…and you touch it about 47 times a day. Get rid of all the nasties with this CleanTray UV Light Sterilization Case. Using 4 UV-C LED lights, this case kills 99.99% of germs and bacteria in just 5 minutes — 2 times faster than other UV devices. $70Bluetooth Smart WatchAdd some intelligence to your everyday accessories with this sleek, modern smartwatch. Just add in your own SIM card, and this watch allows you to make phone calls, send text messages and much more right from your wrist. It’s also optimized as a fitness watch with a pedometer, calorie calculator, distance meter, and more integrated into the watch. $30BENTOSTACK POWERHUB 5000Less is more. The BentoStack PowerHub 5000 is a compact accessory organizer combining a charge cover, Type-C hub, and a storage compartment, all in one minimalistic stackable case. $100

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