This means the technology is not limited to summer months or sunny countries like conventional solar panels. Like a true leaf, it does not need the bright beaming sun to work. According to the researchers, it continues to work efficiently even on rainy and cloudy days. Chemists at Cambridge University wanted to develop a device that was inspired by photosynthesis, a natural process by which plants convert carbon dioxide into food with the help of sunlight. After seven years of hard work, the team presented their “artificial leaves” this week in the journal Nature Materials.
“You can use it anywhere in the world from dawn to dusk”, Virgil Andrei, a PHD student and first author of the study, said in a statement. Once submerged in water, the reaction begins, one using a photosensitive catalyst to create oxygen, the other using carbon dioxide, and a chemical reaction to reduce water to carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The “artificial leaf” uses two light-absorbing carbon nanotubes, similar to plant molecules that collect sunlight, combined with a catalyst made from cobalt.
These three gases are the basis of syngas, the synthesis of synthetic gases composed of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen. Singas have about half the natural energy concentration, so it is not as efficient as suppressing. However, it uses several manufacturing and liquid fuel production. It also has the advantage of being considered a renewable energy source.
Senior author Professor Erwin Reisner from Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry added, “You may not have heard of Singas yourself but every day you use products made using it. It will be an important step in establishing a sustainable chemical and fuel industry by shutting down the global carbon cycle to enable sustainable production, “he said. Reisner added, What we want to do instead of first making syngas and converting them into liquid fuel is to make carbon dioxide and liquid fuel in one step from water.