The variety of humble algae that cover the surface of ponds and seas could hold the key to boosting the efficiency of artificial photosynthesis, allowing scientists to produce more energy and lower waste in the process. A study showed how encasing algae protein in liquid droplets can dramatically enhance the algae’s light-harvesting and energy-conversion properties by up to three times. This energy is produced as the algae undergoes photosynthesis, which is the process used by plants, algae and certain bacteria to harness energy from sunlight and turn it into chemical energy. When light hits the droplet, light waves travel around the curved edges of the droplet. Light is effectively trapped within the droplet for a longer period of time, giving more opportunity for photosynthesis to take place, hence generating more energy.

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