Can photosynthesis enable a global transition from fossil fuels to solar fuels, to mitigate climate change and fuel-supply limitations?

Ringsmuth, Andrew K., Landsberg, Michael J. and Hankamer, Ben (2016) Can photosynthesis enable a global transition from fossil fuels to solar fuels, to mitigate climate change and fuel-supply limitations?. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 62 134-163. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2016.04.016


Author Ringsmuth, Andrew K.
Landsberg, Michael J.
Hankamer, Ben
Title Can photosynthesis enable a global transition from fossil fuels to solar fuels, to mitigate climate change and fuel-supply limitations?
Journal name Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1364-0321
1879-0690
Publication date 2016-09-01
Year available 2016
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.rser.2016.04.016
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 62
Start page 134
End page 163
Total pages 30
Place of publication Kidlington, Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Pergamon Press
Language eng
Subject 2105 Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
Abstract This review article considers Earth as an energy-storing (photosynthetic) and energy-consuming (metabolic) system. We evaluate whether and how photosynthetic, solar fuel-production systems can be engineered and deployed sufficiently rapidly to supplant enough fossil fuel supply to sustain a complex human economy and natural ecosystems over the long term. Geophysical, ecological, economic, technological and political constraints are quantified. We consider the potential to innovate and scale up promising systems such as microalgal and artificial photosynthetic systems to economic viability within a time frame meaningful for mitigating the effects of climate change and fuel-supply limitations. A future global society powered sustainably by solar fuels is forecast to require increased global photosynthetic productivity, through increased photon-conversion efficiency and production area. Increasing the efficiency of socioeconomic energy utilisation is also important. Meeting these challenges on the required time scale demands historically unprecedented technical progress, highlighting the need for both advanced international policy frameworks and scientific excellence. Based on evidence from a broad range of fields, a multiscale systems optimisation approach is identified as important, to integrate analyses from the scale of the global climate, economy and energy systems, down to the nanoscale of light-harvesting and carbon-fixing machinery that drives photosynthesis.
Keyword Photosynthesis
Solar fuel
Climate change
Fuel security
Light harvesting
Multiscale analysis
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Grant ID CE110001013
APP1047243
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
Institute for Molecular Bioscience - Publications
 
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Created: Fri, 06 May 2016, 19:19:04 EST by Mrs Louise Nimwegen on behalf of School of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences