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Solar cells can convert CO2 into fuel, says study

Solar cells can convert CO2 into fuel, says study

By BizLED Bureau

Aug 15, 2016: The Illinois university researchers have come up with a breakthrough photosynthetic solar cell system. This is a technology that imitates a plant’s capability to breathe in carbon dioxide and, with water, turn it into oxygen and glucose. This new system can draw in carbon dioxide and process it into a synthetic fuel that may be used to power vehicles.

Removal of carbon dioxide

In theory, this device is capable of creating a virtuous cycle where weather-changing carbon can be removed from the environment and pumped back into vehicles. The artificial leaf has a pair of solar cells that are capable of powering an infinitely more multifaceted adaptation of the electrolysis. Energy from sunlight is used to catalyze a reaction with a variety of obscure compounds such as nanoflake tungsten diselenide. Synthetic gas comes out of the other side that can be used directly by cars, or turned further into diesel.

READ ALSO: Kennesaw researchers strive to develop futuristic solar cells

If this new procedure proves to be lucrative, it may as well spell the end of conventional gasoline production. In its place, a network of such solar cells would be set up at a solar plan, generating fuel and, at the same time decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

However, the only drawback is that the device will still be re-emitting carbon dioxide back into the environment. Nevertheless it’s an upright stop-gap whilst the work on reducing the carbon emissions happens in a more permanent manner.

This isn’t the first time that artificial photosynthesis is being used to limit the deadly gases. In 2015, a team from Berkeley used a similar procedure that involved genetically-modified E. coli bacteria at the heart of the system. However, this adaptation didn’t output synthetic gas but acetate, a building block of a number of compounds such as biofuel, anti-malaria drugs and biodegradable plastics.

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