Experts Create ‘Artificial Leaf’ That Sucks in Carbon Dioxide and Makes Fuel

- in Technology
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This artificial leaf that turns carbon dioxide into fuel imitates real leaves through the photosynthesis process. Here, carbon dioxide has transformed into glucose and oxygen. 

In order for the process to occur, the artificial leaf needs the help of cuprous oxide. It then produces oxygen and methanol. Methanol is used as a fuel by heating it. 

According to the Lead Researcher, Yimin Wu from the University of Waterloo said that this technology had achieved the solar to the fuel efficiency of about 10 percent, which is already larger than the natural photosynthesis (about one percent).

They hope to partner up with other industry companies to develop more efficient artificial leaves. Apparently, it will take a few more years to commercialize the process. 

The chemical reaction between glucose, copper acetate, sodium hydroxide, and sodium dodecyl sulfate creates power when added to water. 

The water should be heated to a particular temperature for the reaction to start. Carbon dioxide is blown through the water, while a beam of white light is shined upon it. 

The researchers aim to increase ethanol production and commercialize the process by transforming carbon dioxide from sources such as oil drilling and power plants.

This artificial leaf could help the environment.

This innovation is likely to change the whole world. It enables us to reduce carbon emission, as well as create a useful fuel. Products like this will help us to face climate change effectively and efficiently. 

The experts associated in this study said that their conceptual design uses readily accessible technology and materials. When combined, it can make an artificial leaf that is ready to be used outside the lab, where it can play a vast role in reducing greenhouse gases in the environment.  

What produces the most carbon dioxide?

Coal is the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel. It produces the most carbon dioxide, yet remains the world’s dominant energy source.

As theory has it, carbon dioxide controls the temperature as the air’s carbon dioxide molecules absorb infrared radiation. Carbon dioxide, as well as other gases in the atmosphere, are practically transparent to the visible radiation that conveys the sun’s energy to the earth.

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