Rapidly increasing carbon dioxide emissions have become a global concern. Even more, carbon emission is one of the major factors liable for global warming. From the past many years, scientists are trying to innovate technologies that could assist in combating pollution and, eventually, global warming. This time, researchers have developed an artificial leaf that could transform carbon dioxide into fuel. Photosynthesis is a process in which green plants create energy using water and carbon dioxide. This process has influenced researchers to develop artificial leaf, which mocks the approach of photosynthesis. It uses a low-cost red powder, cuprous oxide, to give out oxygen and methanol. Later, methanol obtained in the form of a solution can be collected and heated to use it as a fuel.
The new study, published in Nature Energy, details the latest process for human-made leaf mechanism. Prof. Yimin Wu from the University of Waterloo is the leading researcher of the study. He said this technology had gained solar energy to boost the capability of around 10%. As per the researcher, the number is much higher than the natural rate of photosynthesis, which is roughly 1%. Wu has also noted using water, sunlight, and CO2 as inputs to get oxygen and methanol as a product. The obtained product is a result of a chemical reaction that includes four elements. Notably, scientists have added copper acetate, sodium dodecyl sulfate, glucose, and sodium hydroxide to the water. After that, the reaction started by heating water up to a particular temperature. Scientists have blown CO2 through it, which has revealed a ray of white light into it.
On one side, the methodology decreases carbon emissions, and on the other hand, it would assist in reducing the demand for more oil production. Wu noted it would not only contribute to fighting climate change by lowering CO2 ejections, but also offer sustainable energy. He said; further, they aim to collaborate with industry companies to raise it with a system engineering of the flow cell for developing liquid fuels. Wu added productive artificial leaves could be produced through industry partners. He also said that it would take some years for the process to commercialize.