In a breakthrough move, British scientists have used natural sunlight to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen by mixing biological components and man-made technologies.
The team led by academics at the University of Cambridge used semi-artificial photosynthesis to explore new ways to produce and store solar energy, a finding that could now be used to revolutionize the systems used for renewable energy production.
Their method also managed to absorb more solar light than natural photosynthesis.
Artificial photosynthesis has been around for decades but it has not yet been successfully used to create renewable energy because it relies on the use of catalysts, which are often expensive and toxic.
This means it cannot yet be used to scale up findings on an industrial level.
The new model, detailed in the journal Nature Energy, is the first to successfully use hydrogenase and photosystem II to create semi-artificial photosynthesis driven purely by solar power.
The team not only improved on the amount of energy produced and stored, they managed to reactivate a process in the algae that has been dormant for millennia.