New Wave Power Plants

Concept for Algae Street Lamps, using up 150-200 times more CO2 than your average tree per year.

May 16, 2013 — In the wake of the sobering news that atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at its highest level in at least three million years, an important advance in the race to develop carbon-neutral renewable energy sources has been achieved. Scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)'s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have reported the first fully integrated nanosystem for artificial photosynthesis. While "artificial leaf" is the popular term for such a system, the key to this success was an "artificial forest."

"Similar to the chloroplasts in green plants that carry out photosynthesis, our artificial photosynthetic system is composed of two semiconductor light absorbers, an interfacial layer for charge transport, and spatially separated co-catalysts," says Peidong Yang, a chemist with Berkeley Lab's Materials Sciences Division, who led this research. "To facilitate solar water- splitting in our system, we synthesized tree-like nanowire heterostructures, consisting of silicon trunks and titanium oxide branches. Visually, arrays of these nanostructures very much resemble an artificial forest."


The way of the future is upon us! Well, at least we're making progress. In the wake of Gas Prices soaring far above 4$/gallon, it's refreshing to see that we are making progress on other forms on energy production. Yes, it's also nice to see that it's cleaner energy too. 

But all of this made me think of what kind of crazy repercussions this could have on society. If these "artificial forests" can be harnessed to create power, and they burn up more CO2 than trees do, would the fact they are more valuable than the trees themselves spawn the "Last of the Trees" scenario?

I highly doubt it will, seeing as how we have wildlife preserves and the like. Even still it does make one wonder if larger cities will take that last immersive step towards eliminating nature from their culture by planting artificial trees instead of real ones. I'm not saying it's going to be monochrome society, but it will definitely look a lot more hi-tech.

At any rate, I think it's safe to assume wind power may not be as lucrative as we once thought. The New lucrative energy business will soon be in these "Power Plants", so to speak. Get your Bitcoins, Gold Buillons and Fiat Currencies ready, we're gonna have an investment craze on our hands!