Washington: Scientists, including those of Indian origin, have created artificial leaves that turn atmospheric carbon dioxide into fuel ten times more effective than natural plants.
The artificial leaves mimic the process by which plants use water and carbon dioxide from the air to produce carbohydrates using the sun’s energy.
However, even the latest generation of artificial leaves only work in the laboratory because they use pure carbon dioxide and reservoir pressure.
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago, USA. They have proposed a design solution that can make artificial leaves leave the laboratory and enter the environment.
Its improved sheet, which would use carbon dioxide, a potent greenhouse gas, air, would be at least 10 times more effective than natural leaves to convert carbon dioxide into fuel.
“Until now, all designs of artificial leaves tested in the laboratory use carbon dioxide from pressurized tanks,” said Meenesh Singh, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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“To be successful in the real world, appliances must be able to extract carbon dioxide from much-diluted sources, such as air and combustion gases, which are gases emitted Via coal electricity plants.” Said Singh, corresponding author of the take a look at published in the ACS Sostenible magazine.” Chemistry and engineering.
Uncoupling the carbon dioxide feed under pressure from these leaves means that they must have the means to collect and concentrate carbon dioxide from the air to stimulate their artificial photosynthetic reactions.
Singh and Aditya Prajapati, a graduate pupil of his laboratory, proposed to resolve this hassle by using encapsulating a traditional artificial sheet in an obvious tablet made from a semi-permeable membrane made of quaternary ammonium resin and filled with water.
The membrane allows the water inside to evaporate when heated by sunlight. As the water passes through the membrane, it selectively sucks the carbon dioxide out of the air.
The artificial photosynthetic unit inside the capsule consists of a light absorber coated with a catalyst that converts carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, which can be dissipated and used as a foundation for the creation of diverse synthetic fuels.
Oxygen is also produced and can be collected or released into the environment. “By wrapping the traditional artificial leaf technology within this specialized membrane, the entire unit can function outside, in the manner of a natural leaf,” said Singh.
According to his calculations, 360 sheets of 1.7 meters long and 0.2 meters wide would produce almost half a ton of carbon monoxide per day, which could serve as a basis for synthetic fuels.
Three hundred and sixty of these artificial leaves covering an area of 500 square meters could reduce carbon dioxide levels by 10% in the ambient air less than 100 meters from the row in a day.
“Our idea makes use of readily available materials and technology that, when combined, can produce an artificial sheet geared up for implementation outdoor the laboratory, wherein it can play a vital role in reducing greenhouse gases”.