Today’s Solutions: June 09, 2023

Producing clean fuels that have a minimal carbon footprint is an arduous task as current techniques also create by-products in the process, making it difficult and expensive to filter them out.

That may no longer be the case soon thanks to a team of scientists from the University of Cambridge who have developed a renewable energy device that mimics photosynthesis to produce oxygen and formic acid from sunlight, carbon dioxide and water.

Inspired by the way plants create their own energy, the device is a slim sheet that converts sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and formic acid, a storable fuel that can be used directly or be turned into hydrogen fuel.

Harnessing sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into fuel is a promising way to reduce carbon emissions and transition away from fossil fuels, but it is challenging to produce these clean fuels without unwanted by-products.

“It’s been difficult to achieve artificial photosynthesis with a high degree of selectivity so that you’re converting as much of the sunlight as possible into the fuel you want, rather than be left with a lot of waste,” explains Qian Wang from the university. “We were surprised how well it worked in terms of its selectivity – it produced almost no by-products.”

Less by-product makes separating the fuel easier and cheaper. The test device measured just 20 square centimeters in size, but the scientists said it would be simple and inexpensive to create a larger-scale version.

This “clean” energy has no carbon emissions, removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and could reduce dependency on traditional fossil fuels.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Microparticle therapy shows promise in reversing multiple sclerosis

A pioneering study demonstrated a novel microparticle therapy's ability to reverse nerve cell damage caused by multiple sclerosis (MS) in mice. This ground-breaking medication not only opens ...

Read More

Construction project completes the world’s first 3D printed two-story home

Considered one of the largest sources of environmental pollution in the world, it’s no secret that the construction industry is in need of a ...

Read More

Rotterdam becomes home to the world’s largest floating office

While Rotterdam is typically known for hosting Europe’s biggest port, the second largest Dutch city is also famous as a forerunning innovator in climate ...

Read More

For the first time ever, Greece meets energy demands with 100% renewables

The other week, Greece celebrated an exciting milestone! All of the country’s electricity needs were met by renewable energy for the first time, as ...

Read More