Artificial photosynthesis uses sunlight to make biodegradable plastic

Journal Reference:

  1. Mika Takeuchi, Yutaka Amao. Visible-light-driven production of fumarate from CO2 and pyruvate using a photocatalytic system with dual biocatalysts. Sustainable Energy & Fuels, 2023; 7 (2): 355 DOI: 10.1039/D2SE01533A

A research team led by Professor Yutaka Amao from the Research Center for Artificial Photosynthesis and graduate student Mika Takeuchi, from the Osaka Metropolitan University Graduate School of Science, have succeeded in synthesizing fumaric acid from CO2, a raw material for plastics, powered — for the first time — by sunlight. Their findings were published in Sustainable Energy & Fuels.

Fumaric acid is typically synthesized from petroleum, to be used as a raw material for making biodegradable plastics such as polybutylene succinate, but this discovery shows that fumaric acid can be synthesized from CO2 and biomass-derived compounds using renewable solar energy.

“Toward the practical application of artificial photosynthesis, this research has succeeded in using visible light — renewable energy — as the power source,” explained Professor Amao. “In the future, we aim to collect gaseous CO2 and use it to synthesize fumaric acid directly through artificial photosynthesis.”

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Artificial photosynthesis uses sunlight to make biodegradable plastic

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