Although the Russian state budget is highly dependent on revenues from oil and gas exports, scientists at a Moscow research institute are trying to create an alternative and renewable source of energy. Together with specialists from Germany, New Zealand, Canada and Iran, they are working on a new method that may help humanity end its dependence on fossil fuels.
The scientists have already found a catalyst that splits water into oxygen and hydrogen the same way plants do, with the help of photosynthesis. The catalyst is a manganese compound, which is ideally suited for artificial photosynthesis because it occurs naturally.
Thanks to this discovery, scientists believe that cars in the future will run not on gasoline but on liquid hydrogen, with a single filling lasting 2,000-3,000 kilometers. Indeed, photosynthesis converts light into energy with a conversion ratio of over 90 percent, while solar batteries have an average conversion ratio of 16 percent.
The discovery was made by researchers at the Timiryazev Institute of Plant Physiology at the Russian Academy of Sciences together with their international colleagues.
“Until now it has been impossible to create a water-splitting environment,” said Pavel Voronin, the head of the laboratory of global photosynthesis ecology at the Institute of Plant Physiology. “The catalyst will break water down into oxygen and hydrogen and we shall start to make renewable energy. When it can be done on an industrial scale, it will revolutionize the Earth’s energy sector because the Sun is a natural and inexhaustible source of energy.”