I haven't really had time to do any , sadly, because I'm hella busy right now.

Though admittedly, the stuff I'm busy with is artificial photosynthesis – looking for molecules which can use sunlight to capture CO2 and store energy while alleviating the effects of global warming.

...which... probably?... counts...?

By the way, feel free to ask me more about this stuff, if you're curious. I'm always happy to share knowledge.

@sofista @griffinkate
It just feels like a cop out, seeing as this is kinda what I do every week... 😅

@InvaderXan @sofista Maybe a useful reminder of how useful/important your "day job" is and not to take it for granted???

@griffinkate @sofista
Always good to be reminded of this, yes! Though I certainly don't take it for granted. ☀️

@InvaderXan “probably” is a funny way to misspell “extremely”

@InvaderXan I would love to know more! What processes are you looking at? How is the work progressing? How do you see the technology being applied? Got any papers you're able to share? How long have you been at it?

This would probably be super awesome for space stations, actual plants are tricky in microgravity and the carbon scrubbers they have now need new filters shipping up every so often...


* The basic process involves charge separation and flow of electrons, a lot like in photosynthesis. Plants use this to split water. I'm hoping to use it to directly split carbon dioxide, if that's even possible.

* It's progressing steadily, but slower than I'd like. There are a lot of people working on carbon sequestration. Finding something that works well is easier said than done. Being a theorist, I hope to help narrow things down.

* The ultimate goal is to apply it on a large scale. Pulling CO2 from the air gives a source of hydrocarbons which doesn't use fossil sources. This could either be used as carbon-neutral fuel (short term) or be used for permanent removal of CO2 from the atmosphere (longer term).

* Here's a summary from a 2017 conference, which should be open source:

* Not long. A few months. I hope I can get more funding for next year...

And space stations... I don't see why this kind of thing can't work together with plants. NASA have been studying how to grow things in orbit for decades, after all. The only difficulty is growing enough of them, so an artificial system could help out where required.

@InvaderXan @RedFuture Are you looking into that newish copper catalyst stuff yourself, too?
Do you think it's promising?

@therealraccoon @RedFuture
I saw that, yeah. I’m not working on it directly (I work with molecules rather than solids), but it’s something I’m keeping an eye on. I do think it’s promising!

Incidentally, as a solid catalyst, copper is the best one there is. There aren’t many things that can get CO2 to reduce all the way to CH4. But copper can do it!

@InvaderXan Improved RuBisCo? I don't know if that is the same thing but was thinking of it randomly yesterday

Not quite. The things I'm looking at are more like chlorophyll molecules.

@InvaderXan Really cool. I tried to switch careers into plant bio a while back but life had other plans. I had dreams of working with heirloom crops to breed varieties specifically suited for the needs of organic agriculture.

Life often has other plans, sadly. Pity too, that sounds like an interesting thing to work on!

@InvaderXan I am *extremely* curious as one of my special interests is developing models for exoplanetary atmospheres. (Looong way from that goal yet.)

Also, cool ∑:D

Oh, that's interesting! By coincidence, another thing I want to research someday is how to look for signs of photosynthesis on exoplanets. Which seems quite closely related to your work!

@InvaderXan Huge goal! (Also I would hardly call my armchair science 'work' as it's all guesswork ATM; it's why I've gone back to school at age 46.)

I respect that. Never too late to learn something new, after all. I hope school's going well!

@InvaderXan This is awesome!!! I almost missed it because your tag didn't work properly, though

Oh monkeyfeathers, there’s a typo in there. Im sorry, my typing has been terrible today!

And thanks!

Okay this looks super cool and I'm super interested in your work; I've got a silly question for you tho, what color is Ru(bipy)3?

In crystalline form, it's red. Dissolved in water, it turns yellow. When you illuminate it with UV (or lasers), it fluoresces and glows with a pink/orange colour.

@InvaderXan this would suggest that these plants would grow better in space?

I'm picturing a world where people have to go to space to farm oxygen by tending plants. ^_^

I don’t think anyone’s experimented on that actually. It’s an interesting idea... one to play with in sci fi for now, perhaps.

(That red line up there isn’t a plant though, it’s an artificial photocatalyst)

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