In Arizona, Arizona State University researcher Kevin Redding is working on biological, light-driven energy extraction. Redding, a biochemist who leads the Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis at ASU, is producing hydrogen biofuel from water instead of from natural gas which is a fossil fuel.
Redding said, “I’m trying to redirect the natural photosynthesis pathway to be useful to us.” According to ASU, “Think of photosynthesis as an assembly line. You start at one end, oxidize water, and it releases oxygen. Electrons come down through the pathway and at the very end take carbon dioxide out of the air, fixing it into organic molecules like sugar and protein. Redding has redirected those electrons to make hydrogen, which can be used as a fuel.”
“That’s the whole idea behind making biofuels from CO2 in the air, which is probably a better idea, because our whole infrastructure is set to deal with liquid fuels,” Redding said. “If we’re dealing with hydrocarbons right now, why not stick with that? You take CO2 from the air, you make a fuel you can put in your tank, you burn it, you make CO2 again, but since that carbon came from CO2 in the air anyway, there’s no net production.”