U.S. Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill is conducting a state-wide tour focused on Missouri’s energy future. As St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra reports, McCaskill stopped yesterday at a Washington University solar energy research lab.
The lab is part of Wash U’s Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center. The Center is using an ultra-fast laser system to study how plants and bacteria capture sunlight and convert it to energy. The hope is to eventually use that technology to produce the next generation of solar panels.
McCaskill says the government needs to continue to support energy research: “My opponents want to do away with the Department of Energy: "My opponents want to do away with the Department of Energy. Well the Department of Energy is funding this important research that is going on in ten feet from me, that would allow us to maybe use solar energy in a way that’s cost-effective.”
The Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center was funded in 2009 by a five-year, 20-million-dollar Department of Energy grant.