Scientists have created an “artificial leaf” to fight climate change by inexpensively converting harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) into a useful alternative fuel.
The new technology, outlined in a paper published today in the journal Nature Energy, was inspired by the way plants use energy from sunlight to turn carbon dioxide into food.
“We call it an artificial leaf because it mimics real leaves and the process of photosynthesis,” said Yimin Wu, an engineering professor at the University of Waterloo who led the research. “A leaf produces glucose and oxygen. We produce methanol and oxygen.”
Making methanol from carbon dioxide, the primary contributor to global warming, would both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide a substitute for the fossil fuels that create them.
The key to the process is a cheap, optimized red powder called cuprous oxide.
Engineered to have as many eight-sided particles as possible, the powder is created by a chemical reaction when four substances – glucose, copper acetate, sodium hydroxide and sodium dodecyl sulfate – are added to water that has been heated to a particular temperature.
The powder then serves as the catalyst, or trigger, for another chemical reaction when it is mixed with water into which carbon dioxide is blown and a beam of white light is directed with a solar simulator.
“This is the chemical reaction that we discovered,” said Wu, who has worked on the project since 2015. “Nobody has done this before.”
The reaction produces oxygen, as in photosynthesis, while also converting carbon dioxide in the water-powder solution into methanol. The methanol is collected as it evaporates when the solution is heated.
An hour-long chemical reaction creates the engineered red powder that is the key to new technology to turn carbon dioxide into fuel.
Next steps in the research include increasing the methanol yield and commercializing the patented process to convert carbon dioxide collected from major greenhouse gas sources such as power plants, vehicles and oil drilling.
“I’m extremely excited about the potential of this discovery to change the game,” said Wu, a professor of mechanical and mechatronics engineering, and a member of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. “Climate change is an urgent problem and we can help reduce CO2 emissions while also creating an alternative fuel.”
Wu collaborated on the paper, Facet-dependent active sites of a single Cu2O particle photocatalyst for CO2 reduction to methanol, with Tijana Rajh and other researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, as well as scientists at California State University, Northridge, and the City University of Hong Kong.
The Latest on: Carbon dioxide to fuel
via Google News
The Latest on: Carbon dioxide to fuel
- Investment urgently needed in new technology to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions at airports, report revealson August 1, 2022 at 8:05 am
Multi-million-pound investment is urgently needed in technologies including direct air capture (DAC) if the UK is to make 'green' airports a reality in the future, research by Cranfield University has ...
- Summit Carbon Solutions seeks ruling to prevent South Dakota landowners from stopping surveyson August 1, 2022 at 3:45 am
Carbon dioxide emissions from 32 ethanol plants, including seven in South Dakota, would be piped to North Dakota. That would allow the ethanol plants to sell their product in states with low carbon ...
- Carbon Capture Won’t Work, But It Will Funnel Billions to Corporationson July 31, 2022 at 9:00 am
Fossil fuel interests persuaded the government to waste billions on false schemes that don’t solve the climate crisis.
- How to think about your carbon footprinton July 30, 2022 at 11:20 pm
It’s been nearly two decades since the oil giant BP released a calculator to help consumers figure out all the ways carbon was creeping into their lives, from commuting to work to buying food.
- Not just bread and beer: Microbes can ferment carbon dioxide to make fuel tooon July 28, 2022 at 6:21 am
Bakers ferment dough for a well-risen loaf of bread. Brewers ferment wheat and barley for a smooth, malty glass of beer. And as nature's foremost bakers and brewers, some microbes can do even more.
- Engineers Turn Water into Carbon-Neutral Jet Fuel Using Solar Radiationon July 27, 2022 at 11:30 am
of human emissions are generated through kerosene use in aviation, which currently has no alternative for long haul jetting.
- Carbon dating hampered by rising fossil-fuel emissionson July 27, 2022 at 9:57 am
Archaeologists will increasingly have to rely on other techniques as emissions continue to alter the composition of carbon isotopes in air.
- Formula 1 says it's on schedule to switch to fully sustainable fuel in 2026on July 26, 2022 at 1:00 pm
It's currently developing a "drop-in" fully sustainable fuel for use in F1 cars — it claims most road cars would be able to use the fuel too. This season, F1 cars are using E10 fuel, which includes 10 ...
- How to make jet fuel from sunlight, air and water vaporon July 26, 2022 at 6:00 am
Solar kerosene could one day replace petroleum-derived jet fuel in airplanes and help stabilize greenhouse gas emissions.
- All-in-one solar-powered tower makes carbon-neutral jet fuelon July 20, 2022 at 2:02 pm
Researchers have designed a fuel production system that uses water, carbon dioxide (CO2), and sunlight to produce aviation fuel. They have implemented the system in the field, and the design, ...
via Bing News