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Photosynthesis - Green Energy

June 16, 2022

Photosynthesis stores approximately 130 trillion watts of power on the entire earth. That is about eight times more than what humans consume!

CO2 + H2O + hf  + chloroplastE(stored) + O2

where:  hf  = photon energy from light

The above constructive reaction illustrates how green plants use carbon dioxide, water, and light to store solar energy and release oxygen. The energy is stored (much like a battery) in the carbon bonds of organic molecules produced within the plants. Oxygen is released as a gas and the entire process is clean, green, and natural.

 

E(stored) + O2 + mitochondriaE(released*) + CO2 + H2O + Δ

where:  * = chemical energy as ATP and  Δ = heat

The above reverse reaction illustrates how green plants use a series of complex biochemical steps with oxygen to provide a slow, controlled release of the energy they previously stored. This totally natural process known as cellular respiration occurs within almost all living cells, breaking larger organic molecules into smaller ones while releasing carbon dioxide and water to cycle the reaction again.

 

E(stored) + O2 + 🔥 ➞ CO2 + H2O + Δ + hf

where:  Δ = heat and hf  = photon energy from light

The above destructive reaction illustrates how man uses the energy stored in dead plant matter (fossil fuels, wood, and other organic sources) by burning them in the presence of oxygen. This produces copious amounts of carbon dioxide and water vapor while rapidly releasing the stored energy in the form of heat and light. Along with those powerful greenhouse gases, almost all combustion is incomplete and toxic by-products are released into the environment.

Of all the millions of different species of life on earth, only man combusts dead plant matter and uses the released energy for things like transportation, heating, and generating electricity. All of that stored energy originated from the sun at some point in time. A cleaner and more efficient approach is to use solar energy directly.

The energy of the universe is nuclear. There is no need to build another nuclear reactor. Our sun is a huge fusion reactor safely located 93 million miles away. Its energy is way more than what man will ever need. The rest of nature on earth does not use solar panels to convert solar energy into electricity. It uses, stores, or consumes the energy from photosynthesis in various ways.

By understanding photosynthesis better, we may be able to mimic its mechanisms for some of our energy needs. In the meantime, there is an urgent need for man to consume less energy and become more efficient with what we do use. Photo-voltaics (solar panels) seem like a good alternative but have limited working lifetimes and are creating long-term environmental problems.

Using solar energy directly or through concentration with mirrors and lenses can... more details coming soon!


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