U.S. Dept of Energy calls for artificial molecular machines

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science has released a report describing the basic research needed to produce “revolutionary progress in bringing solar energy to its full potential in the energy marketplace.” The report resulted from a workshop of 200 scientists held earlier this year.

The report notes that progress in the proposed research could lead to: artificial molecular machines that turn sunlight into chemical fuel; smart materials based on nature’s ability to transfer captured solar energy with no energy loss; self-repairing solar conversion systems; devices that absorb all the colors in the solar spectrum for energy conversion, not just a fraction; far more efficient solar cells created using nanotechnologies; and new materials for high-capacity, slow-release thermal storage. The Basic Research Needs for Solar Energy Utilization report can be viewed and downloaded at: http://www.sc.doe.gov/bes/reports/files/SEU_rpt.pdf

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