AutoCAD 2014

Artificial Photosynthesis

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Photosynthetic processes occurring in biological systems are designed to capture sunlight very efficiently and convert it into chemical energy, that is, organic molecules. Sunlight is indeed the only renewable and carbon-neutral energy source of sufficient scale to replace fossil fuels and satisfy the rising global energy demand. The success of photosyntesis depends upon the fact that the needed materials (sunlight, water and, possibly, carbon dioxide) are available in almost unlimited amounts[1,2]. The splitting of water by sunlight into oxygen and hydrogen is regarded as a key step of the photsyntetic processes. Molecular oxygen is released into the atmosphere; the hydrogen is not normally released but it is combined instead with carbon dioxide to make various kinds of organic molecule. In biological systems, water oxidation is catalyzed by a pentanuclear MnCa complex bound to aminoacid residues of photosystem II (PSII), which is characterized by a compact metal-oxocore with several di-?-oxo bridges between Mn ions. Large-scale technological production of molecular hydrogen (or other fuels) from water requires synthetic water-oxidation catalysts that are (i) similarly efficient as the photosynthetic Mn complex and (ii) based on inexpensive and abundant materials [1,2].



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