Reverse Photosynthesis Offers Benefits Beyond Renewable Energy

by Isaiah Boone

Pulse Headlines recently posted an article describing a new discovery at the University of Copenhagen. Researchers at the University have found a potential new source of energy which they are calling reverse photosynthesis. This discovery appears to have larger implications than for the renewable energy industry, but for the petrochemical industry as well. During reverse photosynthesis, solar rays break down rather than build up plant material, which is what normally occurs in photosynthesis. The process consists of combining biomass with an enzyme known as lytic polysaccharide monooxygenase. Chlorophyll is then added to this mixture before it is exposed to sunlight. The chlorophyll then absorbs the sunlight and the energy from the sun breaks down the molecules in the biomass into smaller and smaller components until fuels and chemicals are what remain. [] The researchers believe that reverse photosynthesis can be a significant player in the global energy industry and greatly combat pollution. Continue reading

Growing Energy: an Analysis of the Role Forests Play in Europe’s Renewable Energy

by Griffin Merians

Picture yourself walking through a forest, surrounded by green foliage, the gentle creak of swaying trees, and… energy? Forest and biomass energy are key sources of renewable energy, however, according to an article published in the journal, BioResources, not all nations are equally blessed in this regard. The study used a cluster analysis approach to divide 27 countries into 9 “clusters” based on factors such as forest cover, annual wood production, the amount of energy consumed, greenhouse gas emissions, energy dependence, and expenditure on research and development. Continue reading

Biomass: The Key to Unlocking Africa’s Hydrogen Energy Potential?

by Charles Kusi Minkah-Premo

An article in the August 2015 edition of the Environmental Progress & Sustainable Energy journal assesses Africa’s promising hydrogen energy potential (HEP) from biomass.

Africa’s long-standing issues with electricity generation and access have been well documented. With Northern Africa and South Africa accounting for 30% and 45% respectively of the total electricity generation in Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) —excluding South Africa— generates only 25%. The alarm bells start ringing when you consider the fact that 80% of Africa’s population resides in SSA and a whopping 67% of people living in this region lack access to electricity. Continue reading

Biomass Use in Burkina Faso

by Monkgogi Bonolo Otlhogile

Burkina Faso is a low-income country with a $1,399 GDP per capita (World Development Indicators, 2014). However, Burkina Faso has one of the highest GDP growth rates in Africa and its GDP has consistently grown by an average of over 7% over the past 10 years. Its small $10 billion economy has constrained infrastructure building and only 13% of Burkinabe households have access to electricity (World Development Indicators, 2012). However, what has really exacerbated the energy poverty is the fact that Burkina Faso has no traditional energy sources such as gas, oil, or coal and is totally energy-dependent, relying on imports from its West African neighbors. Therefore, a large proportion of Burkinabe households use biomass such as charcoal and wood for its energy uses. Continue reading