• The Harvard researchers are aiming to solve a problem known to any electric utility: Capturing energy from the sun has come a long way, but how can it be stored for times when there’s no sunlight? Going a step further, how can that stored energy be used for purposes other than electricity?
  • The researchers made a genetically modified bacterium that could bypass the biomass step and go straight to producing liquid fuel. Using the artificial leaf, they split water into oxygen and hydrogen. The special bacterium absorbed the hydrogen, combining it with carbon dioxide to produce isopropanol: an alcohol fuel comparable to ethanol.
  • The resulting system would look like an algae farm, Nocera says, except that the bacteria wouldn’t need the continuous light or maintenance that algae require.

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