Scientists Invent New Techniques To Fight Bacteria-Based Climate Crisis

Shafeer Kalathil, Northumbria University

Photocatalyst sheet containing light-absorbing particles and bacteria.—Scientists have created a new technology that can help overcome climate change. Dr Shafeer Kalathil of Northumbria University is one of the academic team behind the project. They use a chemical process that converts sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into acetate. Also oxygen to produce high value fuels and chemicals powered by renewable energy.

As part of the process, bacteria grown on a synthetic semiconductor device known as a photocatalyst sheet. This means that conversion can take place without the aid of organic additives, manufacture of poisons, or use of electricity.

The aim of this project is to reduce the increase in CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Securing the supply of much-needed green energy and reducing global dependence on fossil fuels. A paper detailing the team’s research findings has been published in a scientific journal Nature Catalysis on July 22, 2022. The paper was entitled Bacteria–photocatalyst sheet for sustainable carbon dioxide utilization.

Dr Kalathil, Senior Fellow of the Vice Chancellor, worked on the project with Erwin Reisner, Professor of Energy and Sustainability at the University of Cambridge. Also working closely with DrQian Wang, professor at the University of Nagoya in Japan, and partners from Newcastle University.

“Several incidents have demonstrated the fragility of global energy supplies, such as the recent increase in gas prices in the UK, the outbreak of conflict and civil war in the Middle East and the ecological as well as humanitarian threat from the nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan,” said Kalathil. therefore very important globally.”

“Our research directly addresses the global energy crisis and climate change facing society today. We need to develop new technologies to address this huge challenge without further polluting the planet we live on.”

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A schematic diagram showing that a sunlight-driven bacterial-modified photocatalyst sheet provides acetate for a biohybrid electrochemical system to generate current and close the carbon cycle.

Shafeer Kalathil, Northumbria University

A schematic diagram showing that a sunlight-driven bacterial-modified photocatalyst sheet provides acetate for a biohybrid electrochemical system to generate current and close the carbon cycle.

There has been an increase in power generation from renewable sources such as wind and solar, but this is intermittent. To fill the gaps when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining, we need other technologies. Where to create sustainable fuels and chemicals. Our research addresses this challenge head-on, he said.

“In addition to securing a much-needed supply of additional energy, our sustainable technologies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and play a key role in the global push for net zero.” said Kalathil.

The project is supported by funding from the European Research Council, UK Research and Innovation, and Research England’s Expanding Excellence in England Fund. Those who support higher education research units and departments to expand and enhance their activities. Research England grants obtained through Hub for Biotechnology in the Built Environment (HBBE)a joint initiative between Northumbria and Newcastle University.

Launched in August 2019, HBBE develops biotechnology to create environmentally friendly buildings. It can metabolize waste, reduce pollution, produce sustainable energy, and improve human health and well-being.

Dr Kalathil, who is deeply involved with HBBE, said: “The goal of HBBE is in line with what we are trying to achieve with our research – to address the major environmental problems facing our society today and in the future. This growing field of research is an interdisciplinary approach. .By combining microbial power, synthetic materials, and analytical techniques for chemical transformation.Providing an excellent platform for producing high-value and environmentally friendly fuels and chemicals on a large scale.We are already in discussions with international chemical manufacturers and cosmetic manufacturers. The ultimate goal is to develop our technology on a commercial scale.”




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