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Photosynthetic bioenergy foam competes for US$50,000

New bioenergy production platform 'Photosynthetic Foam' has been shortlisted in the Today The Earth Awards 2010 for sustainable design.

University of Cincinnati Professors David Wendell's and Carlo Monteemagno's “manufactured system of photosynthesis“ means that all captured energy is converted to sugars, unlike natural plant photosynthesis where a large amount of energy is used to maintain the life of the organism.

The foam is a far more efficient of carbon capture and versatile energy production platform, such as bioenergy, presenting new opportunities for developments in the field of renewable energy.

Professor Wendall explains: “Plants typically convert solar energy into sugars at a rate of 1-5% but the foam does this at a minimum rate of 16% - and even more in some circumstances.”

Numerous benefits

  • With high conversion rates the artificial foam results in greater carbon capture, reducing the amount of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere;
  • In addition, the process of photosynthesis does not rely on the earth’s resources ie: soil and water, reducing the strain on the environment even further;
  • Because of higher conversion rates, the bioenergy foam is able to keep working in more carbon-intense environments such as urban environments or polluted manufacturing locations;
  • In natural plant systems too much CO2 results in overload and photosynthesis ceases; and
  • Once converted, dimethylfuran – high octane biofuel – can be created which can contribute to a commercially-successful economy and transport network without damaging the environment.

Artificial Synthetic Foam is one of 6 finalists in the The Earth Awards 2010.

Backed by world business leaders including Richard Branson, Terence Conran and Diane von Furstenberg it is a global award to give innovators the means to enter the worldwide consumer marketplace with products that drive positive action.

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This article is featured in:
Bioenergy  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Photovoltaics (PV)

 

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