Finding alternative energy sources is vital for human being as the fossil fuel is depleting rapidly. It has been estimated that the present fossil fuel reservoirs just enough for about 100 years and it often produces environmental pollutants that are harmful to human health and greenhouse gases that threaten the global climate .
Out of the possible alternative energy resources, solar energy is found to be one of the prime targets to achieve the global energy requirements. As solar resources are widely available and have a benign effect on the environment and climate, making it an appealing alternative energy source. Solar driven production of environmentally clean electricity, hydrogen and other fuels, is considered as the only sustainable solution for global energy needs. The challenge is to raise its conversion efficiency by factors of five or ten which requires understanding the fundamental conversion phenomena at the nanoscale.
In natural photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is converted to sugar by green plants by series of chemical reactions. Photosynthesis, has long been studied to reveal how its natural mechanisms could be mimicked to apply to produce energy for human society. However, there are considerable challenges, with the first being to mimic the functioning of natural photosynthetic systems, the enzyme complex in the leaves of plants that splits water into hydrogen equivalents and oxygen via a catalyst comprising four manganese atoms along with some calcium. As explained, by mimicking the natural photosynthesis, solar energy can be converted into electricity and chemical energy. The Photochemistry group at IFS is actively involving in investigation of conversion of solar energy into useful energy resources by artificial photosynthesis.
The Photochemistry group at IFS conducts research on conversion of solar energy into electricity, fuel and removal of water pollutants:
Currently the following projects are in progress.
PhD, M.Phil., M.Sc. students, undergraduate students
Mr. K.M.S.D.B. Kulatunga
Mr. K.N.L. De Silva
Mrs. D. Aluthpatabendi