Gallery: Engineers Develop Carbon-Capturing Photosynthetic Frog Foam


It may seem too good to be true, but engineers from the University of Cincinnati have devised a way to capture and remove CO2 out of the air and then convert it into biofuel building blocks. The engineers have created an artificial photosynthetic material made from foam injected with frog enzymes, which combined with the power of the sun, converts CO2 into oxygen and sugar. With more research, the sugar could then be used to make ethanol or biofuel without the use of farmland or crops.

Tungara Frog Foam Nest

Assistant Professor David Wendell and Jacob Todd recently released a paper detailing their research about their new artificial photosynthetic material. The carbon capturing foam is composed of plant, bacterial, frog and fungal enzymes, which can perform photosynthesis when in the presence of sunlight and carbon dioxide. Foam was chosen because it can effectively contain the enzymes while soaking up a lot of air and light. The photosynthetic material was inspired by the foam nests of a semi-tropical frog called the Tungara frog, which creates very long-lived foams for its developing tadpoles.

The engineers have achieved a higher percentage of energy conversion than in natural photosynthesis, because unlike organisms, the foam does not need to divert any energy to maintain life or reproduce. The material also has advantages over traditional biofuel production methods because no farmland or crops are needed. The engineer’s next step is to try to make the technology feasible for large-scale applications, such as carbon capture at coal-burning power plants.

Via University of Cincinnati

Thanks for the tip Wendy Beckman!


or your inhabitat account below


  1. Artificial Photosynthes... July 27, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    […] $122 million grant to establish a new research facility in California with the goal of developing artificial photosynthesis. The Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) will seek to develop methods to create fuels […]

  2. Crystal Compounds Used ... July 5, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    […] Carbon capture stands to reduce the impacts of climate change caused by industrial pollution — but the methods currently available for capturing carbon are expensive, complicated and too burdensome to be widely implemented. It turns out that an answer to this problem could be a family of complex crystals called metal-organic frameworks. Metal-organic frameworks are incredibly porous and have the highest internal surface area of any substance known to man — and it just so happens that they can be formulated for the sole purpose of capturing carbon. […]

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home