Workshop Report/Summary

Could ancient microbes hold the key to making low-cost and efficient devices for future supplies of clean water? Are there patterns in protein structures that provide clues for creating artificial photosynthetic systems more robust than those found in nature? Can sulfur-loving bacteria living at the bottom of the ocean show us new ways to capture and utilize methane? These were just some of the topics explored in a workshop, held in January 2011, where top scientists and engineers shared their research on how living systems capture, store, and use energy.

As current energy sources are dwindling and the demand for energy is expected to more than double by 2050, research on living systems is one of the most promising pathways to new energy sources, for example biological-based fuel cells. However, the ability to understand and create bioinspired energy sources is more than an endeavor in just one scientific discipline; it requires an interface among chemists, biologists, and engineers, as well as those working on technological advances that enable progress in understanding these systems. The workshop brought those groups together.

Resources from the workshop, including speaker presentations and post-workshop interviews of speakers can be found here.