The flow of energy in biological metabolism is highly efficient being controlled by exquisitely designed enzymes which operate isothermally at high catalytic rates. The starting point is the light-driven charge separation and water splitting reactions of photosynthesis followed by the subsequent use of the resulting high energy electrons to drive the synthesis of organic molecules. These molecules are a store of chemical energy which is utilised by non-photosynthetic metabolism leading ultimately to their oxidation back to water and carbon dioxide from which they were formed. It is these high energy molecules created by photosynthesis millions of years ago, which constitute fossil fuels and which at present provides a major energy source for humankind.
With the back drop of limiting supplies of fossil fuels and increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and associated global climate change, there is an urgency to construct energy converting and catalytic systems which can mimic photosynthesis and therefore move more in the direction of sustainability of non-polluting energy generation.
This workshop brings together world leading scientists actively involved in understanding the natural biological processes associated with solar energy capture, storage and utilisation with those directing their efforts at creating technological systems for energy generation using sunlight as the power source.