Solutions for global problems tend to become part of a compromise, says Huub de Groot. He is a professor in biophysical organic chemistry at Leiden University and works, among others, on artificial photosynthesis, ‘biosolar cells’. Technology moves into our private lives; but it also runs into strict physical limitations and this tends to restrict our freedom of choice. We might have to change our lifestyle in order to preserve human dignity: the compromise.
Technology comes close
We need renewable energy in order to address climate problems. By its very nature, renewable energy comes in a dilute and dispersed form. That implies that we all will have to put up with renewable energy production close to us: on our roofs, in our yards. When we interviewed him six years ago, De Groot called this phenomenon: we will all become hobby farmers, i.e. part-time energy producers. The biosolar cells that he and his group develop, will come very close to people, on their roofs for instance. The developers will therefore have to address questions like: what kind of solvents? Toxic ones, or preferably water?