Linus Torvalds is best known for having initiated the development of the LINUX operating system. His project is a great success.

Let's do the same with the efficient conversion of the sun's light energy into fuels and electric power! There is a possibility of tweaking the photosynthetic reactions to produce fuels we want such as hydrogen, alcohols or even hydrocarbons, rather than carbohydrates, as the photosynthetic reactions produce.

Three tracks can be envisioned, so far:

Genetically engineering real plants.

Genetically engineering real plants and microorganisms to yield the products we want. Ethanol would be the preferred one.

Attention is focusing on one of the most ancient groups of organism, the cyanobacteria. Dramatic progress has been made over the last decade understanding the fundamental reaction of photosynthesis that evolved in cyanobacteria 3.7 billion years ago, which for the first time used water molecules as a source of electrons to transport energy derived from sunlight, while converting carbon dioxide into oxygen.

The light harvesting systems gave the bacteria their blue ("cyano") color, and paved the way for plants to evolve by "kidnapping" bacteria to provide their photosynthetic engines, and for animals by liberating oxygen for them to breathe, by splitting water molecules.

For humans now there is the tantalizing possibility of tweaking the photosynthetic reactions of cyanobacteria to produce fuels we want such as hydrogen, alcohols or even hydrocarbons, rather than carbohydrates...( Please see more under Bio-engineering).

Mimic the photosynthetic reactions in artificial systems.

Mimic the photosynthetic reactions in artificial photosynthetic systems built with human-made components.

There is the potential to develop dedicated systems, whether based on cyanobacteria, plants, or artificial components, capable of much higher efficiencies, reaching 10% efficiency of solar energy conversion. This would enable enough energy and fuel to be produced for a large part of the planet's needs without causing significant loss of space for food production.

The current generation of biofuel producing crops generally convert less than 1% of the solar energy they receive to biomass, which means they would displace too much agricultural land used for food production to be viable on a large scale...(Please see more under Artificial systems).

Develop super enzymes and new technologies.

Develop super enzymes for high energy efficient production of ethanol and new technologies for energy production.

Mr Michael Malagiero, in fact, proposes a new track for us. His suggestion follows:

Anaerobic photosynthetic bacteria have the capacity to produce significant amounts of H2 by using sunlight. This H2 can be produced either by hydrogenising or nitrogenising. The bacteria use reductant derived either from solar powered reactions or the oxidation of organic compounds to drive H2 production. By using sunlight and waste organic materials - for example sewage, agricultural or animal wastes - as electron donors to support the growth of bacteria and their subsequent generation of H2, these procedures will not only produce solar-powered H2 but have the added environmental benefit of treating and removing waste products in a carbon neutral process...(Please see more under Enzymes).