Scientists at Berkeley Lab are getting close to a long-held goal of using artificial photosynthesis to generate renewable energy from the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Assistant Professor of Chemistry William McNamara discusses progress on artificial photosynthesis with students in his lab, including Catherine Wise '15. Artificial photosynthesis is not a new idea, and a system that requires only sunlight and simple organic chemicals to generate renewable energy cheaply and cleanly is a high priority goal. Artificial photosynthesis, like the real stuff, relies on more than just collecting sunlight. Some limited progress has been made in this area, but, as of yet, no proposed solution has been nearly efficient enough to warrant commercial use. Artificial photosynthesis is not revolutionary in and of itself—techniques to achieve this effect have existed for decades.