Chemistry with sunlight

Kevin Moeller, PhD, professor of chemistry in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, is working to find ways to use clean energy in clean chemistry. “We can make the oxidation reactions used in the synthesis of organic molecules cleaner by hitching photovoltaics to electrochemistry,” Moeller says. It’s not a new idea, but one Moeller and his colleagues hope catches on.

Turning plants into power houses

Plants are less efficient at capturing the energy in sunlight than solar cells, mostly because they have to drag along evolutionary baggage. But scientists are already thinking of creative ways to fix the inefficiencies.