Artificial "leaf" could replace PETROL with a combustible gas that generates it using sunlight and water, scientists say.
- The device contains the precious metal cobalt and only needs light and water.
- It uses a process similar to photosynthesis to produce syngas, a fuel that is already in use
- Scientists believe that their environmentally friendly process could produce a fuel that replaces gasoline
An artificial leaf could be used to generate a commonly used combustible gas only from water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide.
Developed at the University of Cambridge, the leaf imitates photosynthesis, the process plants use to generate energy.
Currently, the gas – called synthetic gas or synthesis gas – is produced by the consumption of fossil fuels.  With the climate-neutral solution developed by scientists, however, a sustainable liquid fuel could eventually be developed that serves as an alternative to gasoline.
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The device shown here can be used to generate sunlight from sunlight, water and the precious metal cobalt, a fuel known as synthesis gas. If the gas can be processed into a liquid, this can be used to refuel gasoline engines
The chemist Erwin Reisner of the University of Cambridge and colleagues have managed to ensure that the device does not release additional carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
"You may not have heard of syngas itself, but every day you consume products that were made with it," said Professor Reisner.
"Sustainable manufacturing would be a crucial step in closing the global carbon cycle build a sustainable chemical and fuel industry. Thanks to the combination of materials and catalysts used, they would have succeeded in making the art sheet more sustainable than others , harvesting sunlight – combined with a cobalt catalyst.
A light absorber from the catalyst generates oxygen in water.
The other performs the chemical reaction that reduces carbon dioxide and carbon dioxide. Water converts to carbon monoxide and hydrogen Synthetic Gas Blend.
The Artificial Blade can even work on dull and cloudy days without sacrificing performance.
"This means you're not limited to using this technology in warm countries or just during the summer months," said the paper's author and chemist Virgil Andrei.
"You can use it from morning to night anywhere in the world."
Air pollution contains toxic chemicals that are increasingly damaging human health – these How to Produce a Sustainable Automotive Fuel "We're committed to making sustainable products such as ethanol that can be easily used as fuel," added Andrei. "That's a challenge." Producing it in one step from sunlight using the carbon dioxide reduction reaction
"However, we are confident that we are heading in the right direction and have the right catalysts and believe that we will be able to produce a device that can demonstrate this process in the near future. "
" Next, instead of first producing synthesis gas and then converting it into liquid fuel, we want to manufacture the liquid fuel in one step from carbon dioxide and water, "said Professor Reisner.
& # 39; There is a great demand for liquid fuels to sustainably manage heavy goods transport, shipping and aviation. [
The full results of the study were published in the journal Nature Materials.
HOW CAN SCIENTISTS TRANSFORM SUNLIGHT IN FUEL?
Scientists have developed a way to convert sunlight into fuel, which can lead to an "unlimited source of renewable energy."
Cambridge University researchers have achieved this by splitting water into hydrogen and hydrogen oxygen.
They used a technique called semi-artificial photosynthesis based on the same process that plants use to convert sunlight into energy.
Artificial photosynthesis has been around for decades, but it has not been successfully used to produce renewable energy.
This is because catalysts are used that are often expensive and toxic.
Researchers used natural sunlight to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen using a mixture of biological components and artificial technologies.
Researchers reactivated a seaweed process in algae for millennia.
They used hydrogenase, an enzyme found in algae that can convert protons into hydrogen.
"During evolution, this process was deactivated because it was not necessary for survival, but we have successfully bypassed inactivity to achieve the desired response – the splitting of water into hydrogen and oxygen", said Katarzyna Sokół, first author and doctoral student at St. John's College.
Ms. Sokół hopes that the results will allow the development of new innovative model systems for the conversion of solar energy.