UCSB Engineering

July 26, 2010

UCSB part of $122-million "Artificial Photosynthesis" project

DOE-funded work aims to develop cost-effective method of producing energy from sunlight

UCSB is participating in an ambitious project funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The goal is to develop a cost-effective method of generating energy from sunlight by mimicking the process plants use to produce energy: photosynthesis.

Eric McFarland, a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, is leading UCSB’s part in the project.

McFarland will help develop automated systems that will allow enormous numbers of chemical compounds to be rapidly synthesized and screened to identify those with the most potential for use in an artificial photosynthesis system. McFarland’s goal, once these ultra-high throughput experimentation systems are up and running, is to synthesize and screen a million compounds in a day.

A major focus of the artificial photosynthesis project, McFarland says, is on developing technology that not only works, but also is cost-effective.

“It has to be something that will produce energy at a competitive price,” McFarland says.

Read the press release from the Department of Energy here.

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Anna Davison
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