Notices
Results 1 to 36 of 36

Thread: Possible Earth Saving Idea

  1. #1 Possible Earth Saving Idea 
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    Hello world scientific community, I would like to offer a solution to both rising global temperature due to greenhouse gasses and the impending world energy crisis. My plan focuses to reduce greenhouse gasses into fuel through a man made machine that performs artificial photosynthesis.

    We would, firstly, account for the greenhouse gasses we want removed from the atmosphere, for global heat and energy purposes, by filtering the gasses out of the air and into silos. We would, secondly, then run the greenhouse gasses, carbon dioxide gas and water, through the artificial photosynthesis machine, directly powered by the sun, with as little solar energy loss as possible, into the products, oxygen gas and sugar. We would, thirdly, then refine the stored sugar product into a fuel and combust it with the stored oxygen gas product to run an electric generator. We would, fourthly, recycle the carbon dioxide gas and water produced through the same artificial photosynthesis machine over and over again as long as there is a sun in the sky to directly power it.

    We could study and build off of the complex molecular physics that happen in nature to arrive at a machine suited for us. We could also modify existing photovoltaic cells to perform photosynthesis. Another design for the machine could be to focus solar energy, like light and heat, into a laser to perform something like photosynthesis by breaking the molecular ingredients, carbon dioxide gas and water, up into atoms so that they can be reassembled by another solar energy laser into the molecular products, oxygen gas and sugar.

    The entire project could be very expensive and run up major debt to those funding it if there is not a clear scientific plan. We also run the risk of poisoning the air if we accidentally concentrate up too much poisonous or noxious gas, like carbon monoxide or sulfur dioxide, in our air and making it toxic.

    My plan is clean, carbon neutral, fully solar powered, renewable, and not to complex. I hope this will lead to scientific discussion and a design for this machine and a better future for us all. Thank you all very much.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    951
    Simple- where is this magic machine that can process 5 quarillion tons of air?


    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    Quote Originally Posted by fizzlooney
    Simple- where is this magic machine that can process 5 quarillion tons of air?
    Does not exist yet to my knowledge. Try looking at how plants do it. Maybe we can learn from them to build a machine. Any comments?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,590
    Why engineer a machine that can do photosynthesis when nature provides us with algae?

    http://www.solixbiofuels.com/
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Many, many scientists have been trying for a long time to achieve artificial photosynthesis that works well. They have produced many crappy systems that didn't work very well, or worked pretty well but where very expensive and difficult to make. Achieving efficient, low-cost artificial photosynthesis is a very difficult problems to solve. As I said, many people are working on it, but I don't know of any reason to expect them to succeed any time soon.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Suspended
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    323
    Sorry, too lazy to read atm, but how will it lock away the Carbon we released that dates from the coal age?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    Quote Originally Posted by C_Sensei
    Sorry, too lazy to read atm, but how will it lock away the Carbon we released that dates from the coal age?
    We take it out. I guess it all comes down to good accounting and silos that do not leak the gasses we want out back out into the open air.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Why engineer a machine that can do photosynthesis when nature provides us with algae?

    http://www.solixbiofuels.com/
    Algae is a great place to start but I want something better. I want something that pumps out clean air and sugar for fuel faster and more energy efficiently and does not waste large amounts of it's sugar and energy for growing it's body.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Many, many scientists have been trying for a long time to achieve artificial photosynthesis that works well. They have produced many crappy systems that didn't work very well, or worked pretty well but where very expensive and difficult to make. Achieving efficient, low-cost artificial photosynthesis is a very difficult problems to solve. As I said, many people are working on it, but I don't know of any reason to expect them to succeed any time soon.
    In the end it will probably come down to better physics, chemistry, and biology to obtain the knowledge we need to build the machine that can do artificial photosynthesis for us, if we already do not know enough. Nanotechnology may allow us to build things on the level of the chloroplast or chlorophyll in the future. Am I right?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    M
    M is offline
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    282
    Yea, the whole idea is to do it more efficiently and cheaper than in nature. As technology progresses we should see this idea becoming more realistic.
    More efficiently than nature? Is there anything mankind has ever done that's more efficient than nature? Well, maybe the bicycle...

    Cheaper than nature? How much does it cost to run a forest?

    I think what you really mean is that you're trying to replace the capacity of a large forest by a relatively small machine, i.e. you are doing the same thing on less space, so you can cut down the forest and build some golf courses. I don't know if that will work, but I doubt you can start by imitating nature. Nature is already quite optmized at what it's doing. If you want to do much better, you will most likely need a radically different approach.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    951
    how are you going to process some 5 quadrillon tons of air???
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Forum Sophomore
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    128
    I'm sorry you way can't become practiced now.

    Maybe the Wall Street men can provide a more practicable method.
    They give us a largest bubble and then... Oh, thousands will stop using car for no money to buy fuel.
    Haha, solved.

    Just a joke.
    Technology can help us to some degree.
    But, remember, human are greedy. Your new machine maybe can solve problems for some time. But some people will finally make things worse.
    So, new technology is important though this is not the fundamental method.
    If the biggest developed countries like US gov still refuse to sign the international convention on climate, the problem seems hard to get rid of.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    963
    Quote Originally Posted by M

    More efficiently than nature? Is there anything mankind has ever done that's more efficient than nature? Well, maybe the bicycle...

    Cheaper than nature? How much does it cost to run a forest?

    I think what you really mean is that you're trying to replace the capacity of a large forest by a relatively small machine, i.e. you are doing the same thing on less space, so you can cut down the forest and build some golf courses. I don't know if that will work, but I doubt you can start by imitating nature. Nature is already quite optmized at what it's doing. If you want to do much better, you will most likely need a radically different approach.
    I have never quite understood how it is possible to separate mankind from "nature". Surely human beings are a part of "nature" and our species has been created by "nature".
    I don't suppose it would be much of a consolation, but if we ever manage to really damage the planet the few survivors could always blame "nature".
    However if one wants to argue that man has never improved on "nature" it is worth remembering that "nature" has existed from the beginning of time and humans have only arrived, on the scene, very recently.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Forum Professor Wild Cobra's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1,140
    How about start by showing the preconceptions are real?

    My God.

    Anthropogenic global warming as being a problem is a hoax. There is no adequately proven theory around CO2 as causing the warming we have, and half or more it is easily explained with proven science that the sun is the major cause.

    I have no problem with trying to be more green. However, if it's going to cost allot, forget it.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by M
    More efficiently than nature? Is there anything mankind has ever done that's more efficient than nature?
    Yes, chemists have demonstrated artificial photosystems created through the magic of synthetic chemistry that are more efficient than the natural photosystems found in plants. But they are very expensive compared to plants (which will copy themselves more or less for free).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    I just want to reduce greenhouse gasses into fuel using purely solar energy. I do not want to copy nature at photosynthesis but rather study how it does it to build a machine that can do what we want it to do, save us.

    Quote Originally Posted by M
    Yea, the whole idea is to do it more efficiently and cheaper than in nature. As technology progresses we should see this idea becoming more realistic.
    More efficiently than nature? Is there anything mankind has ever done that's more efficient than nature? Well, maybe the bicycle...

    Cheaper than nature? How much does it cost to run a forest?

    I think what you really mean is that you're trying to replace the capacity of a large forest by a relatively small machine, i.e. you are doing the same thing on less space, so you can cut down the forest and build some golf courses. I don't know if that will work, but I doubt you can start by imitating nature. Nature is already quite optmized at what it's doing. If you want to do much better, you will most likely need a radically different approach.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    Hello, this is my idea so far for an artificial photosynthesis machine. We could focus solar energy into a laser beam to break apart the ingredients of photosynthesis, carbon dioxide gas and water, into pure atoms. We could take the atoms and again use a solar laser to combine them into oxygen gas and sugar. I am not sure exactly how it all will happen yet. Please comment.

    Quote Originally Posted by fizzlooney
    Simple- where is this magic machine that can process 5 quarillion tons of air?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    How does photosynthesis physically happen in the chloroplast of an algae or plant cell?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Why engineer a machine that can do photosynthesis when nature provides us with algae?

    http://www.solixbiofuels.com/
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    Where can I find out about artificial photosynthesis on the web? Is anybody working on an artificial photosynthesis machine right now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Quote Originally Posted by M
    More efficiently than nature? Is there anything mankind has ever done that's more efficient than nature?
    Yes, chemists have demonstrated artificial photosystems created through the magic of synthetic chemistry that are more efficient than the natural photosystems found in plants. But they are very expensive compared to plants (which will copy themselves more or less for free).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  21. #20  
    M
    M is offline
    Forum Junior
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Posts
    282
    Yes, chemists have demonstrated artificial photosystems created through the magic of synthetic chemistry that are more efficient than the natural photosystems found in plants. But they are very expensive compared to plants (which will copy themselves more or less for free).
    So, how much better are these systems in creating sugars using the energy of sunlight? If you replaced the leaves of a plant with artificial photosystems, would it make the plant grow faster? Be careful when defining and comparing efficiencies of two systems that have different, though overlapping, purposes. Yes, for the purpose of this thread, the reduction of CO2 may be all we care about, but that's not all a plant is doing. How much energy you need to make and maintain the machine vs. the plant should also factor into the balance of gain versus loss. But that's an almost philosophical discussion on definitions and comparisons... my point was it's extremely hard to surpass billions of years of evolution with a manmade design, though it may have been done, occasionally. I suspect in most of those successful cases, it was done not by mimicking nature, but by thinking out of the box. There used to be a branch of science called 'Bionics' and I am not sure if it's still alive. I always found that interesting but also somewhat limiting. If you try to copy something, the best you can do is to achieve a perfect copy. And usually you end up with far less than that.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  22. #21  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by M
    So, how much better are these systems in creating sugars using the energy of sunlight? If you replaced the leaves of a plant with artificial photosystems, would it make the plant grow faster? Be careful when defining and comparing efficiencies of two systems that have different, though overlapping, purposes. Yes, for the purpose of this thread, the reduction of CO2 may be all we care about, but that's not all a plant is doing. How much energy you need to make and maintain the machine vs. the plant should also factor into the balance of gain versus loss. But that's an almost philosophical discussion on definitions and comparisons... my point was it's extremely hard to surpass billions of years of evolution with a manmade design, though it may have been done, occasionally. I suspect in most of those successful cases, it was done not by mimicking nature, but by thinking out of the box. There used to be a branch of science called 'Bionics' and I am not sure if it's still alive. I always found that interesting but also somewhat limiting. If you try to copy something, the best you can do is to achieve a perfect copy. And usually you end up with far less than that.
    By "more efficient" I meant that a larger percentage of the light energy striking the system is converted into usable chemical potential energy. I don't know if they could be coupled to actual plants, but I suspect it would be very difficult and require some crazy genetic engineering of the plant to make it compatible with a new photosystem.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  23. #22  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    1,893
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876
    Do you, or anyone, happen to know how photosynthesis physically happens in the chloroplast, to the level of the chlorophyll molecule? This would be key to understanding how to design a machine that can do photosynthesis just as well, if not far better, than the chloroplast. Hopefully the machine will also cost no more than farming algae for clean energy or growing a forest for clean air.
    Short version: Light energy is harvested by a Mg atom sitting in a porphyrin ring. When it absorbs the photon, an electron on the Mg increases in energy and is able to reduce CO2. The Mg/porphyrin system then replaces its lost electron by grabbing an electron from water, producing O2 gas and a free proton.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  24. #23  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    Can anybody post a link to an online in depth explanation of photosynthesis in plants and algae?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876
    Do you, or anyone, happen to know how photosynthesis physically happens in the chloroplast, to the level of the chlorophyll molecule? This would be key to understanding how to design a machine that can do photosynthesis just as well, if not far better, than the chloroplast. Hopefully the machine will also cost no more than farming algae for clean energy or growing a forest for clean air.
    Short version: Light energy is harvested by a Mg atom sitting in a porphyrin ring. When it absorbs the photon, an electron on the Mg increases in energy and is able to reduce CO2. The Mg/porphyrin system then replaces its lost electron by grabbing an electron from water, producing O2 gas and a free proton.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  25. #24  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    An algae or plant performs photosynthesis to survive, we want to do it to clean our air and produce efficient chemical energy. Our purposes for doing it are quite different. It is about learning and building something suited for us, not copying.

    Quote Originally Posted by M
    Yes, chemists have demonstrated artificial photosystems created through the magic of synthetic chemistry that are more efficient than the natural photosystems found in plants. But they are very expensive compared to plants (which will copy themselves more or less for free).
    So, how much better are these systems in creating sugars using the energy of sunlight? If you replaced the leaves of a plant with artificial photosystems, would it make the plant grow faster? Be careful when defining and comparing efficiencies of two systems that have different, though overlapping, purposes. Yes, for the purpose of this thread, the reduction of CO2 may be all we care about, but that's not all a plant is doing. How much energy you need to make and maintain the machine vs. the plant should also factor into the balance of gain versus loss. But that's an almost philosophical discussion on definitions and comparisons... my point was it's extremely hard to surpass billions of years of evolution with a manmade design, though it may have been done, occasionally. I suspect in most of those successful cases, it was done not by mimicking nature, but by thinking out of the box. There used to be a branch of science called 'Bionics' and I am not sure if it's still alive. I always found that interesting but also somewhat limiting. If you try to copy something, the best you can do is to achieve a perfect copy. And usually you end up with far less than that.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  26. #25  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    The sun clearly has everything to do with global warming because it is the source of our heat and energy. When the sun gets hotter, we get hotter. My idea primarily serves to reduce greenhouse gasses into fuel that we can recycle by purely clean solar methods. The carbon dioxide, water, and solar energy around us is a great source of energy that is just waiting to be taken advantage of.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wild Cobra
    How about start by showing the preconceptions are real?

    My God.

    Anthropogenic global warming as being a problem is a hoax. There is no adequately proven theory around CO2 as causing the warming we have, and half or more it is easily explained with proven science that the sun is the major cause.

    I have no problem with trying to be more green. However, if it's going to cost allot, forget it.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  27. #26  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    There will always be people among us who will mess thing up because of stupidity, power, or evil. The best we can hope for is a good system that is really hard to mess up. My system is simple but if we do not know what we are doing we could potentially mess things up big time, like poison the air over time by concentrating harmful gasses, for example.

    Quote Originally Posted by wangwy13
    I'm sorry you way can't become practiced now.

    Maybe the Wall Street men can provide a more practicable method.
    They give us a largest bubble and then... Oh, thousands will stop using car for no money to buy fuel.
    Haha, solved.

    Just a joke.
    Technology can help us to some degree.
    But, remember, human are greedy. Your new machine maybe can solve problems for some time. But some people will finally make things worse.
    So, new technology is important though this is not the fundamental method.
    If the biggest developed countries like US gov still refuse to sign the international convention on climate, the problem seems hard to get rid of.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  28. #27  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    Hello everybody, I made some edits to my texts to make them more understandable. Please check out my ideas on artificial photosynthesis and comment. Thank you very much.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  29. #28  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    In photosynthesis is it the force of the light or the force of the atoms of the respective chloroplast molecules that splits up the molecules and atoms of carbon dioxide and water? Any information or links on how it all physically happens?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  30. #29  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    In a photovoltaic solar cell, made of silicon or carbon, electricity in released when light is added. Does anybody think there is a way it would be possible to use this electricity to directly perform photosynthesis if we modified the solar cell to do photosynthesis?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  31. #30  
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876
    In photosynthesis is it the force of the light or the force of the atoms of the respective chloroplast molecules that splits up the molecules and atoms of carbon dioxide and water? Any information or links on how it all physically happens?
    The molecules aren't really split apart by "force" like tearing up paper; the bonds break and form new ones because of the electron moving from the Mg to the CO2.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  32. #31  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    Would it be possible to to simply build a panel of mg atoms, add carbon dioxide and water, add sunlight, and sit back and watch photosynthesis happening before your eyes? Would you need the addition of the porphyrin rings for the mg atoms in the panel for it all to work? Why or why not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876
    Do you, or anyone, happen to know how photosynthesis physically happens in the chloroplast, to the level of the chlorophyll molecule? This would be key to understanding how to design a machine that can do photosynthesis just as well, if not far better, than the chloroplast. Hopefully the machine will also cost no more than farming algae for clean energy or growing a forest for clean air.
    Short version: Light energy is harvested by a Mg atom sitting in a porphyrin ring. When it absorbs the photon, an electron on the Mg increases in energy and is able to reduce CO2. The Mg/porphyrin system then replaces its lost electron by grabbing an electron from water, producing O2 gas and a free proton.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  33. #32  
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatt9876
    Would it be possible to to simply build a panel of mg atoms, add carbon dioxide and water, add sunlight, and sit back and watch photosynthesis happening before your eyes? Would you need the addition of the porphyrin rings for the mg atoms in the panel for it all to work? Why or why not?
    Yes, you need the porphyrin - it makes an electronic environment around the Mg that allows the light to be harvested. If I'm remembering right, the light basically moves an electron from the Mg to the prophyrin. There are also other complex biochemicals around that facilitate the process - the Mg+porphyrin is just the energy-harvesting heart of it that powers everything. You could make a panel of Mg+porphyrins that caused oxidation and reduction reactions to happen when you shined light on them, but without all the other helper biomolecules you wouldn't get sugars from the CO2, although you might get some sort of random reduced carbon products.

    You can absorb light energy and use it to make oxidation and reduction reactions happen with many different kinds of dye. In the case of plant photosynthesis, the dye is the Mg porphyrin system.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  34. #33  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    Here is an idea for artificial photosynthesis:

    First, engineer a molecular iron silicon ring.

    Second, engineer a sheet of them. Laminate the sheet with a glass or plastic. Leave space for the carbon dioxide and water to be added in. Leave room for the products to be taken out.

    Third, add carbon dioxide and water. Shine sunlight onto the sheet. The rings should become energized by the light and a reaction between the rings, the carbon dioxide, and water should begin.

    Fourth, products will be produced. There are a wide range of possibilities. No matter what we want to end up with a hydrocarbon and oxygen gas as a final product. We also want to be able to recycle everything so the sheet can be rebuilt. The sheet may be destroyed in the process.

    Fifth, create many sheets. Start reducing greenhouse gas into renewable sun energy.

    If you guys can help me out with the physics, chemistry, and engineering that would be very awesome. Thank you.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  35. #34  
    New Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    4
    So what is the purpose of the FeSi ring? How exactly to you envision the device working?

    There are certainly plenty of molecules and solid materials that can make oxidation and/or reduction reactions happen when you shine light on them, including reduction of CO2 to other carbon compounds...
    Reply With Quote  
     

  36. #35  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    The purpose for the FeSi ring would be to turn carbon dioxide gas and water, the ingredients, into a hydrocarbon and oxygen gas, the product. I do not know if this will all happen in one step. For example, we may have to then extract oxygen from the iron after the initial sunlight reaction to get the oxygen gas, preferably using sunlight energy, either directly or indirectly.

    I envision the ingredients being pumped around the contained FeSi ring sheet where the sunlight reaction can take place. Then the products can be pumped back out of the container.

    If my molecule is inferior to others for this purpose then that is fine, I can try something else. I am just looking for something as inexpensive and efficient as possible at converting those ingredients. I chose iron and silicon mostly because of their abundance. Can you think of anything that might work better?

    Quote Originally Posted by sciguy
    So what is the purpose of the FeSi ring? How exactly to you envision the device working?

    There are certainly plenty of molecules and solid materials that can make oxidation and/or reduction reactions happen when you shine light on them, including reduction of CO2 to other carbon compounds...
    Reply With Quote  
     

  37. #36  
    Forum Professor
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    1,261
    Another approach to the problem could be to continue to set up clean energy alternatives to coal and petrol like wind and solar and electrically zap water into hydrogen gas. We then can take the hydrogen gas and electrically combine it with air borne carbon dioxide to form methane. We can then use the methane for energy.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •