An idea that I dreamed up in place of listening to boring high school lectures. Like real photosynthesis
, it turns energy
, carbon dioxide
, and water
into food and oxygen
. However, instead of producing glucose
as the food, this "artificial photosynthesis" would produce acetic acid
, more commonly known as vinegar
. You may not believe it, but acetic acid
is actually a quite effective food source; ethanol
from alcoholic beverages is turned into acetic acid by the body and metabolize
d. This is why alcoholic beverages have a caloric value
The main advantages of artificial photosynthesis are that it cannot "die" like plants do. Also it requires no soil or nutrients. The energy source can be any electricity source; it does not have to be light-based, as with plants. These advantages make it a clear choice for the quick terraformation of Mars.
If you know some simple chemistry, and would like to know the chemical reactions that drive my process, I will describe them reaction by reaction:
Step 1: Water is turned into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis. The oxygen is vented to the atmosphere.
4H2O ------> 4H2 + 2O2
Step 2: Carbon dioxide is combined with half of the hydrogen from the previous reaction to form carbon monoxide and water. The water is fed back into the previous reaction.
2CO2 + 2H2 --(Iron Catalyst)---> CO + H2O
Step 3: Half of the carbon monoxide from the previous reaction is combined with the rest of the hydrogen to form methanol.
CO + 2H2 --(Zinc oxide catalyst----> CH3OH
Step 4: Via the Monsato process, the remaining carbon monoxide is combined with the methanol to form acetic acid.
CH3OH + CO --(Rhodium/Iodine catalyst---> CH3COOH
The total reaction can be summarized as:
2CO2 + 2H2O --(various catalysts)----> CH3COOH + 2O2