'Artificial leaf' produces fuel through photosynthesis
This new device works by using two light absorbers made of perovskite (used in solar panels), and a cobalt catalyst. When these are immersed in water, one side produces oxygen, while the other side reduces carbon dioxide and water to create carbon monoxide and hydrogen. These last two gases are then combined to create syngas.
While syngas can be burnt to produce electricity, it’s considered to be an intermediate step in the manufacture of products, such as plastics and fuels like diesel. That said, this is not the first ‘artificial leaf’. Harvard University in the US have produced similar technology and there are a raft of other examples out there, which claim to create fuels from solar energy.
There are still many issues, particularly with regard to the low conversion efficiencies (the Cambridge leaf, for example, produce hydrogen at an efficiency of 0.06% and carbon monoxide at 0.02%).
In the future, the Cambridge team plan to skip the syngas stage completely and make the liquid fuel in one step from carbon dioxide and water. Their goal is to create a more efficient and sustainable energy solution.
SOURCE: University of Cambridge, 21 October 2019.
Are you helping threat actors to compromise your organisation?
05 May 2022
Space tech – how microalgae can help us clean the air
03 May 2022
World Day for Safety and Health at Work
28 Apr 2022
World IP Day 2022: Artificial Intelligence
26 Apr 2022
World IP Day 2022 - IP and Youth: Innovating for a Better Future
25 Apr 2022