Re: photochemical advance

From: Miriam English (
Date: Sun Dec 09 2001 - 16:09:14 MST

At 07:01 AM 10/12/2001, Robert J. Bradbury wrote:

>On Sun, 9 Dec 2001, Mike Lorrey wrote:
> > Photosynthesis is, at best, 3% efficient (compared to 35% for
> > photovoltaics).
>I think thats "natural" systems. I've seen discussions that
>suggest that in photobioreactors you may be able to get up to 8-9%.

There is more to it than simply the initial capture and conversion of
light. Plants turn that light (plus almost free air & water) into more of
themselves. Storage is a very important aspect too. Plants can create huge,
efficient energy stores in sugar and starch.

We have big problems storing energy taken from the sun with photovoltaics.
Our solutions are costly, usually toxic and heavy, and have to be created
externally (incurring additional transport and purchase costs).

When you look at *all* the losses in our way of doing things plants start
looking pretty good.

While we can do really great stuff, we are still pretty damn primitive. I'm
sure post-spike people will find it hard to understand how we managed.


         - Miriam

To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
Virtual Reality Association

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat May 11 2002 - 17:44:25 MDT