A team of scientists and researchers from the University of Waterloo said they had found a novel solution to transforming carbon dioxide into liquid fuel through the sustainable use of solar energy. This new technology appears to follow the same process that plants use to photosynthesize, which is why it has been renamed “artificial leaf”.
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Using a cheap red powder called copper oxide, which is found in abundance in nature, the artificial leaf converts carbon dioxide into methanol and oxygen, which can then be used as fuel once as the water in the solution evaporates, according to an article in Nature Energy.
Scientists hope that the artificial leaf can contribute to the fight against global warming; Carbon dioxide emissions have caused chaos on planet Earth in recent years, as evidenced by irregular weather patterns and climate change that are driving an increasing number of regions into unbearable climatic conditions.
image credit: YouTube
In an interview with the Canadian press, Yimin Wu, chief researcher, and professor of civil engineering at the University of Waterloo, said:
I tried to find a new way to mimic photosynthesis in nature, where leaves convert carbon dioxide and water using sunlight to produce glucose and oxygen. The motivation is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the use of greenhouse gases, and hopefully reduce global warming and provide sustainable energy.
“We call it an artificial leaf because it mimics real leaves and the process of photosynthesis,” said Yimin Wu, @UWaterloo professor in @WaterlooENG who led the research on tech which converts harmful carbon dioxide into an alternative fuel. #UWaterlooNews https://t.co/Oey8BmB0m1 pic.twitter.com/jBYWGfbGEO— UWaterloo News (@UWaterlooNews) November 4, 2019
The researcher went on to say: “Climate change is an urgent problem and we can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions while creating an alternative fuel.”
Wu has been working on this method since 2015, with most of his research being conducted in an Illinois federal lab, within the United States Department of Energy. Scientists hope these findings will help fight rising levels of greenhouse gases and ultimately tip the scales toward achieving negative carbon emissions in today’s society and industry. .
We hope we will get there as quickly as possible.