Policy / Systems / Technology

December 30, 2011


Toyota CRDL Succeeds in World's First Artificial Photosynthesis Using only Water and CO2

Keywords: Climate Change Environmental Technology Fossil Fuels Manufacturing industry 

JFS/Toyota CRDL Succeeds in World's First Artificial Photosynthesis Using only Water and CO2
Copyright Toyota Central R&D Labs, Inc.

Toyota Central R&D Labs, Inc. (Toyota CRDL) announced on September 20, 2011, that it had succeeded in demonstrating an artificial photosynthesis process that, for the first time in the world, generates an organic compound using only water, carbon dioxide (CO2), and sunlight.

Interest in artificial photosynthesis has been increasing in recent years as a way to solve the issue of global warming and the need for alternative energies to fossil fuels. While existing technologies require additives such as specific organic compounds, UV radiation not present in solar light, or external electric energy, the new technology demonstrated that organic compounds could be continuously created with the use of water, CO2, and sunlight alone and without any external energy or other resources, in a manner similar to the photosynthesis that occurs in plants.

The new method combines an oxidation reaction that extracts electrons from water with a reduction reaction of CO2 with those electrons. With energy from sunlight inducing the process, it produces formic acid, an organic compound.

Although the achievement will be a key steppingstone toward a carbon-neutral society, its current conversion efficiency is 0.04%, only one-fifth that of plants. Toyota CRDL is aiming for a higher efficiency than plants. It also intends to develop a synthesis technology that generates more valuable organic compounds such as methanol.

5th MIDORI Academic Prize Awarded for Quantitative Verification of Polyphenic Functions of Greenery, Etc. (Related JFS article)
Kyoto University Discovers New Mechanism of Photosynthesis in Oceans (Related JFS article)

Posted: 2011/12/30 06:00:15 AM



Toyota Central R&D Labs, Inc. official website