Artificial leaf could generate fuel by photosynthesis

Scientists at the University of Glasgow have created an artificial ‘leaf’ capable of converting the sun’s energy to liquid fuel.

Professor Richard Cogdell from the University of Glasgow explained “The sun gives its energy away for free but making use of it is tricky. We can use solar panels to make electricity but it’s intermittent and difficult to store. What we are trying to do is take the energy from the sun and trap it so that it can be used when it is needed most.”

Professor Cogdell added: “We are working to devise an analogous robust chemical system that could replicate photosynthesis artificially on a grand scale. This artificial leaf would create solar collectors that produce a fuel, as opposed to electricity.”

The artificial system could also improve on natural photosynthesis to make better use of the sun’s energy. By stripping back photosynthesis to a level of basic reactions, much higher levels of energy conversion could be possible.

Ultimately, success in this research could allow the development of a sustainable carbon neutral economy arresting the increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere from fossil fuel burning.

See the news story here: The artificial leaf

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