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Photovoltaic plants

As opposed to photosynthetic plants...
  [vote for,

I don't know how many of you are familiar with Chlorophyll, and that's kind of a prerequisite for understanding this idea, I apologize....

My idea is to find the gene or genes that codes for the so-called "Active Site" of the chlorophyll molecule and delete it. The electrons and H+ ions would still pile up, and a voltage potential would swiftly build up inside the plant's leaves. Perhaps, this electricity could be tapped. If so, the result would be an efficent, living solar cell. You'd have to feed it though, much like Fungus, it would need to absorb its energy from whatever it grows on.

Even if this isn't possible on a large scale, (I'm afraid that might require making tiny little wires for each chloroplast!) maybe this could be adapted for nanomachines.

Madcat, Apr 11 2003


       As a bonus, the plant would still turn water into H2 and water. You might even coax it to scrub CO2, but that's unlikely given that this occurs after the part of photosynthesis that this proposal monkeys with. If you could though, you'd have a self replicating, all-in-one life support and power system.
Madcat, Apr 11 2003

       Without the active portion of the chlorophyll molecule, light energy could not be absorbed (except by accessory pigments, but the point is that's not what you're going for here). The H+ buildup occurs during the electron transport system in the chloroplast (converting NADH and FADH2 energy to ATP, for those that vaguely recall high school biology). The H+ gradient powers the ATP synthetase complex, producing ATP. So, to use this electrochemical potential to produce a current, you would want to replace the ATP synthetase in the chloroplast membrane with some sort of molecular generator. Replacing the gene would be the easy part; finding a molecule to generate the current and a way to harness it from the cell is the challenge here.
mandy, Apr 13 2003

       If there is any scientific validity to this, should anyone not be insulted by your assumption that we know not of chlorophyll? That is, afterall, on the level of primary education...
X2Entendre, Apr 13 2003

       I think [Madcat] courteous, not insulting. At least, I'm not insulted.
bristolz, Apr 13 2003


       // your assumption that we know not of chlorophyll? //   

       Huh? Madcat never said any such thing. You are very easily insulted, X2E. That's a shame, as it must happen a lot then.
waugsqueke, Apr 13 2003

       //should anyone not be insulted by your assumption that we know not of chlorophyll? //   

       Who is [chlorophyll]?
FloridaManatee, Apr 13 2003

       The Police are trying to collar Phil in Eastenders at the moment.
sufc, Apr 13 2003


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