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
- Turning Carbon Dioxide Capture Into Big Businesson November 12, 2019 at 3:58 pm
According to a recent study from researchers at the University of Oxford and UCLA the capture of carbon dioxide to turn it into commercial products such as fuels or construction material may become a ...
- What Is Fuel Tankering And Why Does The U.K. Opposition Want To Ban It?on November 12, 2019 at 12:40 pm
Getty Images In a BBC television program aired November 11, it was revealed that the UK’s largest carrier, British Airways, is one of several airlines that carry out fuel tankering. The Panorama ...
- Formula One plans to become carbon neutral by 2030on November 12, 2019 at 6:47 am
The sport has faced increasing criticism over its current yearly output of 255,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide given the climate emergency ... with the creation of the Environmental Accreditation ...
- F1 announces plan to offset 256,551-tonne carbon footprinton November 12, 2019 at 2:12 am
F1's big 2030 objective will focus on addressing emissions from all of these areas, with reducing the amount of carbon dioxide produced per litre of fuel the key measurement for engine development and ...
- Vodka made from captured carbon dioxide? That’s the spirit.on November 12, 2019 at 1:01 am
It’s vodka, made without any potatoes or grains, and the key ingredients are hydrogen and captured carbon dioxide ... can expand into alternative fuels, plastic-making chemicals, or other ...
- Arctic Shifts to a Carbon Source due to Winter Soil Emissionson November 11, 2019 at 5:08 pm
If fossil fuel use is modestly reduced over the next century, winter carbon dioxide emissions would increase 17% compared with current emissions. Under a scenario where fossil fuel use continues to ...
- ExxonMobil Extends Deal for Fuel Cell Carbon Capture Projecton November 11, 2019 at 2:19 pm
ExxonMobil and FuelCell Energy announced a new joint-development agreement to enhance carbon capture fuel cell technology, as the groups work on a process to ... one that captures about 90 percent of ...
- Airlines are flying tons of unneeded fuel around the world to save as little as $52 by not filling up in countries with higher priceson November 11, 2019 at 3:13 am
The practice, called "fuel tankering," gives airlines an often tiny saving, at the cost of much larger carbon emissions, BBC's 'Panorama' claimed.
- CNG Fuels to offer first carbon neutral fuels for HGVson November 6, 2019 at 4:15 pm
Manure gives off methane, a greenhouse gas which is 28 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The use of methane as a fuel prevents it from entering the atmosphere. Chief executive Philip Fjeld said ...
- Scientists create ‘artificial leaf’ that sucks in carbon dioxide and makes fuelon November 5, 2019 at 3:20 pm
The new technology was inspired by the way plants use photosynthesis to turn carbon dioxide into glucose and oxygen. The artificial leaf mimics this process – with the help of a cheap red powder ...
via Bing News