Online Seminar via Teams
Dr Katherine Dunn: Electrosynbionics – What It Is And How It’s Going To Change The World
Our civilization needs to shift to carbon neutral modes of electricity generation. This also implies a need for energy storage, to avoid power cuts when there is no sunshine, wind etc. the energy transition would be greatly facilitated by new technologies that could make it easier and cheaper to harvest energy from the sun and store it until needed. To develop such technologies, we can take inspiration from living things. For example, plants absorb sunlight, carbon dioxide and water to make their own fuels, as do some microbes. Certain bacteria build their own nanoscale wires as conduits for electrons, and electric eels produce hundreds of volts to stun prey.
"Electrosynbionics" describes the creation of engineered devices that use components derived from or inspired by biology to generate, use or store electricity. This includes biophotovoltaics and biobatteries. Electrosynbionics is potentially transformative because it offers the capability to harvest sunlight, store energy, supply electricity on-demand and capture carbon from the air. Exploiting the light absorption properties of biological pigments and the remarkable performance of enzymes could enable the efficiency of energy capture and conversion to exceed that of conventional systems, and the manufacturing process is expected to be greener.
In this talk, I will outline the principles of electrosynbionics and will show how this exciting radical technology could be an important part of the blueprint for a net-zero future.
MS Teams online link (University login required)