Towards a Global Solar Fuels Project - Artificial Photosynthesis and the Transition from Anthropocene to Sustainocene
Faunce TA. Towards a global solar fuels project- Artificial photosynthesis and the transition from anthropocene to sustainocene. Procedia Engineering 49 ( 2012 ) 348-356. Evolving Energy-IEF International Energy Congress (IEF-IEC2012) Plenary Paper
9 Pages Posted: 2 May 2013
Date Written: July 4, 2012
The development of an economy based on practical solar fuels is chiefly predicated on obtaining cheap and abundant hydrogen by using photons to split water, then cooling or compressing that gas; or on combining such hydrogen with carbon dioxide obtained from abundant industrial sources and eventually the atmosphere to create methanol. The construction of devices to make such fuels will be a major step in shifting the biosphere from what has been termed the Anthropocene to the Sustainocene epoch. The term 'Sustainocene' refers to a period where governance structures and scientific endeavour coordinate to achieve the social virtues of ecological sustainability and environmental integrity.There is a simple public policy message at the core of a vision such as that of the Sustainocene. It involves telling people that nanotechnology will be used to make buildings function like trees. A device that can do this and is available to cheap purchase and installation, like the mobile phone or internet, by providing decentralised power equitably could rapidly transform society to one that is more community and values-oriented.
Solar Fuels, particularly those derived from nanotechnology-based artificial photosynthesis represent an 'off-grid' energy, water and climate change solution that may directly challenge substantial investments in 'ancient photosynthesis' fuels by the World bank and multinational corporations in the energy sector, as well as government subsidies. This paper will examine immediate and long-term prospects and potential mechanisms for facilitating collaboration between the major existing national and regional Solar Fuels projects or establishing a macroscience Global Solar Fuels (GSF) initiative.
Keywords: Sustainocene, solar fuels, renewable energy, sustainability, artificial photosynthesis, energy security, nanotechnology, hydrogen, anthropocene
JEL Classification: H41, G18, K32, L94, L71, O32, O33, O31, Q42, Q43, Q48
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
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By Ignazio Musu