As you might know, plants use photosynthesis to turn carbon dioxide into glucose and oxygen which are essential for our survival. Inspired by this phenomenon, a group of researchers has created an ‘artificial leaf’ which will turn carbon dioxide into fuel.
During the course of their research, the scientists used four substances glucose, copper acetate, sodium hydroxide and sodium dodecyl sulfate. After mixing them in water, the scientists heated the water to a specific temperature as they blew carbon dioxide through it. Following this, they proceeded to use white light into it. Interestingly, this method turned carbon dioxide into oxygen and methanol.
Talking about their latest discovery, lead researcher Yimin Wu told The Independent, “This technology has achieved the solar to fuel efficiency about 10 per cent. This is already larger than the natural photosynthesis (about one per cent). The next step is to partner with industry companies to scale it up with a system engineering of flow cell for the production of liquid fuels. More efficient artificial leaves can be developed along the lines with industry partners.”
However, the researchers told that they are still a long time away from making the technology commercially viable. Despite that, the method will be revolutionary to pull carbon dioxide out of atmosphere.