I don’t have a solid answer, only the avenue of approach for research into Catalyzed Photosynthesis. Feasibility studies would follow, I hope? Here are the key thoughts:

  • When electric current moves through a wire, it has a magnetic component; a magnetic field is observed locally. Solenoids are the classic example.
  • Pulses of electric current (on/off) generate an oscillating magnetic field.
  • An object which resonates with this oscillation will experience an oscillating force.
  • Chemical reactions can be influenced by magnetic fields, as well. (These examples looked at an unchanging magnetic field’s effect on light-sensitive chemicals…)
  • In particular, an oscillating magnetic field can effect chemical reactions. (called the Oscillating Magnetic Field Effect, or OMFE, here.)

The magnetic fields used in these experiments were very weak — these are not huge, powerful forces at work. And, the frequency of oscillation was tuned to the hyperfine couplings of the chemical constituents. (Crudely: the magnetic wobble between the nucleus and electrons are like the tuned string of an instrument; they are ‘plucked’ by playing the identical ‘note’ with an oscillating magnetic field.)

I offer this: it is possible to find the magnetic oscillation associated with the compounds involved in photosynthesis, such that the chloroplast absorbs BLUE light, in addition to the usual RED. Plants equipped with this photosynthetic boost might capture more than the usual 11% of sunlight, allowing growth in low-light (Mars?), or faster growth rates (because a smaller proportion of their energy-uptake is spent on metabolism).

This method is particularly appealing because, while the radiative emission of energy (e.g. visible light, radio waves, x-rays) is lost in every direction, a magnetic field only loses energy to the receivers that are attuned. A properly tuned oscillator would only experience a load when the right molecules are nearby. If the energy needed to allow blue-absorption is significantly less than the energy of the absorbed blue light, the net effect ‘cools’ the system (more light is absorbed into chemical energy, so less is reflected and radiated as heat).

The dreamy futurist vision: pulsed power along wire ‘fences’, in a vaguely Wardenclyffe-way, could increase the productive capacity of fields and orchards, while reducing the portion of sunlight converted to heat! More food, faster, without adding to our warming atmosphere. And, perhaps, other chemical activities could be powered this way — if the metabolic activity of yeasts or fungi could be catalyzed with an oscillating magnetic field, we could speedily degrade toxins, or brew pharmaceutical precursors for cheap. Researchers continue to make stuttering steps toward wireless power for your phone, and that same principle might allow wireless power for metabolic processes: WiBio? Wouldn’t we feel silly — if we could do it, but never tried?

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Easily distracted mathematician

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