There’s a group of scientists in Denmark who think so! The team from Denmark’s University of Copenhagen has developed a process that turns biomass into fuel with the help of the sun and they’ve named it “reverse photosynthesis.”
The biomass they are talking about is generally wood or straw. It’s already something that is commonly converted into biofuels, but it’s neither efficient or cost effective to do so. This new method is not only both of those, but it is also a lot cleaner. By just adding an enzyme called lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase and chlorophyll, then exposing the biomass to the sun, the sugarmolecules in the biomass begin breaking down into chemicals that are easier to convert into fuel and clean plastics.
Compared to other methods that take up to 24 hours to achieve, Reverse Photosynthesis works in as little as ten minutes.
“Photosynthesis by way of the sun doesn’t just allow things to grow, the same principles can be applied to break plant matter down, allowing the release of chemical substances. The immense energy in solar light can be used so that processes can take place without additional energy inputs,” lead researcher Claus Felby said in a statement. “This is a game changer, one that could transform the industrial production of fuels and chemicals.”