When I was in school, photosynthesis was taught as this amazing biological process that took light and water and turned carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon. It was implied that this was limited to the domain of plants.

Have we industrialised photosynthesis so that we can shine light on a test tube and have it brake cardbon dioxide into oxygen?

My question is: Is there an industrial process that makes use of photosynthesis?

  • $\begingroup$ acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2015/… $\endgroup$ – am304 Jul 26 '19 at 13:14
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    $\begingroup$ Actually natural photosynthesis is very inefficient - only about 1% of the light energy falling on the plant gets captured. There are simpler and more efficient ways convert CO2 and water into fossil fuel replacements or feedstock for producing plastics. See nature.com/articles/ncomms15174 for example. $\endgroup$ – alephzero Jul 26 '19 at 14:16
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks @alephzero could you please expand that into an answer? $\endgroup$ – hawkeye Jul 27 '19 at 3:59

Thanks to @am304 who has not yet posted a full answer - but answered in a comment.

In the American Chemical Society Journal we read:

The groups developed a stand-alone, nanowire array that captures light and with the help of bacteria, converts carbon dioxide into acetate. The bacteria directly interact with light-absorbing materials, which the researchers say is the first example of “microbial photoelectrosynthesis.” Another kind of bacteria then transforms the acetate into chemical precursors that can be used to make a wide range of everyday products from antibiotics to paints.

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