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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2010 Jun;21(3):271-6. doi: 10.1016/j.copbio.2010.03.004.

Limitations and prospects of natural photosynthesis for bioenergy production.

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School of Biological Sciences, Heydon-Laurence Building (A08), University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


Solar energy is clearly a major future source of energy for humans. While solar photovoltaic and thermal harvesting are attractive there will be a need for biofuels to replace fossil fuels. Natural photosynthesis offers a means to do this, but photosynthesis is inherently inefficient. Terrestrial plants have already been used as a source of biofuels and this use will increase in the future, despite a number of attendant problems. Microalgae as a source of biofuels have to be technically proven and artificial photosynthesis/biohydrogen production lies further into the future. Consideration of these approaches must be weighed against (i) crop production in a hungry, as well as a fuel-hungry, world and (ii) the need to sustain biodiversity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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