From what I understand, there is difficulty in finding catalysts that would allow conversion of water, CO2 and sunlight into carbs or hydrogen. Researchers have created a catalyst called “blue dimer” which mimics oxygen-evolving complex, which oxidizes water (splitting it) in the light reaxtions of photosynthesis. Photoelectrochemical cells, whose function is to reduce CO2 into CO, formic acid (HCOOH) and methanol (CH3OH) are still being developed. All efforts so far have been inefficient.
There is a lot of information on wiki, the link of which is below. Please do read it if you are curious.
Here’s a breakthrough that was just announced. It’s particularly important because it’s faster than other methods, and speed was the bottleneck in the artificial process.
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