Skip to 0 minutes and 6 seconds Living things need energy. Everything they do needs energy. Organisms need it to move, to sense their environment, to reproduce, to grow. They need energy just to stay alive. But the way life gets and uses energy is complicated. Take humans, for instance. We store our food’s chemical energy in an energy currency molecule, ATP, by a process called “cellular respiration.” This metabolic pathway has dozens of steps and goes from biochemistry to physics and back again. The energy in our food comes from 93 million miles away in the form of sunlight, and is captured by plants in photosynthesis. I’m Dr. James McEvoy. I work in the Department of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway University of London.
Skip to 0 minutes and 56 seconds And I’m the designer and leader of this course in biological energy. If you enrol, you’ll learn how respiration and photosynthesis work, gaining insight into the energetic principles that underlie these pathways. But biological energy isn’t just about biochemistry. The last 200 years, and particularly the decades since the Second World War, have seen a biological energy boom. Our energy economy is based on fossil fuels– ancient stores of photosynthetic energy. And they have changed our world. We’ve made fertilisers and grown new crop varieties that store more of the sun’s energy in their grain– the so-called “Green Revolution.” While good news overall, many of us now suffer from too much biological energy.
Skip to 1 minute and 46 seconds Besides the environmental effects of fossil fuel use, there are human health effects, too, like obesity type 2 diabetes. But the story doesn’t end there. The future of biological energy doesn’t lie with fossil fuels, and the Green Revolution isn’t finished. You’ll learn how modern biotechnology and biofuels can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and how biology is inspiring renewable energy researchers in a warming world. Biological energy is a vital and wide ranging topic. And it will be as important in the future as it always has been. It’s a fascinating journey, and I hope you can join me on it.