by Christina Chang and Rebecca Farnum
Our world is running out of fossil fuels to burn for energy. Therefore, even if we were not concerned with climate change, we need to be able to produce and store energy sustainably from renewable sources. Sunlight is an abundant energy supply, and the blueprint for sustainable energy creation and storage has long been right under our noses – and on our salad forks. This article draws attention to an emerging solar energy storage technology being developed in labs around the world, called artificial photosynthesis. Artificial photosynthesis can be used to make ‘artificial leaves’ that act like ‘solar batteries’, creating and storing fuel. We describe how artificial photosynthesis works and discuss how it may provide a way forward for renewable energy storage, reduce our negative impacts on the planet, and make electricity accessible to our most vulnerable population.