Humans consume one trillion watts of energy annually, and the amount will double by 2050. The fossil fuels that we use to generate most of that energy contribute to global warming, making it vital that we develop renewable energy. This includes finding better ways of generating and storing energy from the Sun.
Fortunately, Nature has lessons to teach us. The process of photosynthesis, which plants use to turn the Sun’s energy into fuel, has been optimized over billions of years of evolution. CIFAR’s Bio-inspired Solar Energy program examines the lessons of photosynthetic organisms to create better ways of harvesting light energy, of transporting it, and of storing it.
The program brings together researchers from across disciplines to work on questions that could lead to more efficient solar panels, better batteries, new green fuels, and other technologies that will feed the world’s need for energy without contributing to climate change.