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
- Australia wildfires unleash millions of tons of carbon dioxideon January 22, 2020 at 11:03 am
The historic wildfires in Australia likely unleashed about 900 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, equivalent to nearly double the country’s total yearly fossil fuel emissions, ...
- Five ways to turn carbon dioxide from pollution to a valuable producton January 21, 2020 at 7:37 am
CO 2 can be used as a feedstock for many chemical processes, with hundreds of potential end products, including hydrocarbon fuels and urea fertilizers. There's emerging evidence that increasing the ...
- California city's attempt to ban fuel cell technology is struck downon January 21, 2020 at 7:33 am
The Santa Clara city ordinance passed last summer that effectively banned Bloom Energy’s natural gas-powered fuel cells as an electricity source was struck down Friday by the Santa Clara County ...
- After high court ruling on carbon cap, group warns Inslee’s low carbon fuel standards proposal is '90 percent waste'on January 20, 2020 at 11:15 am
Most of a state administrative rule imposed by Gov. Lee Inslee’s administration, which caps carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by fuel distributors, natural-gas companies and other industries, has been ...
- JetBlue is first major airline to go carbon neutral on all domestic flightson January 19, 2020 at 6:25 pm
The airline said in a press release that it will offset carbon dioxide emissions from jet fuel through the use of a number of projects. The efforts are expected to eventually offset more than 15-17 ...
- Court Throws Hurdle in Front of Washington State’s Drive to Reduce Carbon Emissionson January 17, 2020 at 5:45 pm
because they do not directly emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by burning the fuel. "The issue is not whether man-made climate change is real—it is," Chief Justice Debra Stephens wrote ...
- Climate Connections: There are ways you can help to cut carbon emissionson January 17, 2020 at 4:51 pm
Plants breath in carbon dioxide and breath out oxygen, which is why we need to work with nature to keep ... we need to disincentivize the use of fossil fuels. A straight tax on carbon would get the ...
- Microsoft wants to capture all of the carbon dioxide it’s ever emittedon January 16, 2020 at 9:30 am
Capturing carbon dioxide from the air can still cost up to $600 per ton ... Bernie Sanders worry that relying on drawing down carbon after it’s been released takes the pressure off polluters to ...
- JetBlue announces plans to go carbon-neutral, power some flights with 'sustainable aviation fuel'on January 10, 2020 at 5:07 am
In a press release issued Monday, JetBlue vowed to start taking steps by July 2020, by bolstering the airline’s existing initiatives and offsetting an additional 15-17 billion pounds of carbon dioxide ...
- What if storing carbon dioxide would also allow us to heat our homes?on January 9, 2020 at 6:23 am
This means a drastic reduction in our use of fossil fuels (oil, gas ... from where the carbon originally came. This technology is known as CO 2 capture and storage (CCS). BRGM has been involved ...
via Bing News