U.S.: Global warming is biggest challenge

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U.S.: Global warming is biggest challenge
Copyright 2008 by United Press International

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- A U.S. official says meeting energy needs in the 21st century while fighting global warming will be one of the biggest challenges humanity has faced.

U.S. Department of Energy Undersecretary for Science Raymond Orbach says meeting that challenge will demand "transformational breakthroughs in basic science."

He cited as one example the development of artificial versions of photosynthesis, the natural process that plants use to produce energy from water and sunlight. Artificial photosynthesis, which Orbach calls "photosynthesis without the plant," could theoretically open the door to fueling cars of the future with water rather than gasoline.

Artificial photosynthesis units would split water into hydrogen and oxygen, producing clean-burning hydrogen fuel, he said.

Orbach made the statement in a two-part podcast in the American Chemical Society's Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions series.

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