Leaves have a mind-blowing potential to use carbon dioxide and water to produce energy. The phenomenon has attracted researchers for many years. They have had a keen interest in finding a way to simulate the feature, which could offer benefits to humans. Still, developing such a technique may require significant financial support. But a scientist from Ontario has found a new, cost-effective way to transform CO2 into a liquid fuel using sunlight. Notably, the process imitates the process of photosynthesis. An engineering professor at the University of Waterloo, Yimin Wu, has led the research of human-made leaf. Wu said his discovery has a boundless range of applications as any business, which emits carbon dioxide, can use the latest technology. Wu has named the process as an artificial leaf.
According to the report, published today in Nature Energy, the latest artificial technology can produce cheap carbon-free fuel. Wu noted that artificial leaves are a copy of natural leaves. Instead of producing glucose, Wu has altered the reaction to emit methanol. Notably, this fuel obtained in liquid form can be used in various ways, like fuel for vehicles. They have used sunlight, water, and CO2 as an input which has produced methanol as well as oxygen. Wu has detailed the working of the artificial leaf, which uses cuprous oxide, a cost-effective red powder. It includes a combination of four compounds – copper acetate, sodium dodecyl sulfate, sodium hydroxide, and glucose.
Wu said the incentive is to lessen the emission of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and fortunately decrease global warming. Even more, he aims to offer an eco-friendly and renewable source of energy through the approach. Wu also noted that it is a result of years-long hard work. He has functioned on the project since 2015; later, he started scripting about the finding and filing the patents. Wu said he feels proud about the achievement, and it is a significant step in the sector of renewable energy sources. In the end, the author notes, the key is price, extensibility, and other crucial social objectives, such as long-term development goals.