Scientists Developed Artificial Leaf: It Sucks CO2 Out of the Air & Produces Clean Energy

A group of scientists recently developed a so-called artificial leaf which is able to turn carbon dioxide into fuel.

The new tech was inspired by the plants’ usage of photosynthesis to transform CO2 into oxygen and glucose.

This artificial leaf mimics this process using cheap red powder known as cuprous oxide and it produces oxygen and methanol.

The methanol can be collected and used as a fuel. The solution is heated so the water evaporates.

How Does the Artificial Leaf Work?

The power is achieved through a chemical reaction of 4 substances, that is, glucose, sodium hydroxide, copper acetate, and sodium dodecyl sulfate that are added to water.

To begin the reaction, the team heated the water to a certain temperature and then blew carbon dioxide through it and shone white light onto it.

They further to elevate the ethanol amount which is produce and help make it commercially available by converting CO2 from power plants and oil drilling.

What Are the Next Plans for the Artificial Leaf?

According to Yimin Wu, the lead researcher and a professor of engineering at the Waterloo University, this tech achieved the solar-to-fuel efficiency around 10 percent which is already larger than the capacity of the natural photosynthesis which is around 1 percent.

They plan to partner with industry companies to scale it up with engineering of flow cell to produce liquid fuels.

More effective leaves like this can be made with industry partners.

However, he explains it will require couple of years before this product can be available commercially.




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