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A major challenge facing humanity is developing a renewable source of energy to replace our reliance on fossil fuels. The ideal source will be abundant, inexpensive, environmentally clean, and widely distributed geographically. Energy from the sun meets these criteria. Unfortunately, practical, cost effective technologies for conversion of sunlight directly into useful fuels do not exist, and new basic science is required. A blueprint for storage of solar energy in fuels does exist, however, in photosynthesis. Indeed, all of the fossil-fuel-based energy we consume today derives from sunlight that was harvested by photosynthetic organisms.
The Center for Bioenergy and Photosythesis carries out frontier multidisciplinary scientific research designed to use biological and biologically-based artificial systems to address societal energy needs in a sustainable manner, with an emphasis on solar energy conversion and bioinspired energy transformation to meet human needs