Carbon Dioxide, Sunlight, And Water Making Clean Fuel With The Help Of A New Device –

A device has been made by the researchers which convert sunlight, CO2, and water into carbon-neutral fuel, without the help of energy or other components.

It has been made by a research group at the University Of Cambridge. The device has brought us one more step closer to the making of artificial photosynthesis. It is built on a refined photocatalyst sheet technology that transforms water, CO2, and sunlight into formic acid and oxygen. Formic acid is a storable fuel that can be converted into hydrogen or used directly.

It has been stated in the Nature Energy Journal that it is an amazing technique to convert CO2 into clean fuels. This technology could be deployed just like solar farms to get a huge amount of clean fuel and also reduce carbon emissions.

It is very hard to achieve artificial photosynthesis with a high degree of selectivity so that you are converting as much of the sunlight as possible into the fuel you want utilizing a lot of waste.

  • Dr. Qian Wang, Study First Author, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge.

“Also, the storage of gaseous fuels and the separation of by-products can be a very hard task – We want to get to a point where a liquid fuel can be produced that can be stored and transported easily.”

–  Professor Erwin Reisner, the paper’s senior author.

In 2019 Reisner’s Group made a solar reactor based on “artificial leaf” that used CO2, water, and sunlight to produce syngas.

The new technology here is almost similar but the functioning is different and it generates formic acid. The artificial leaf used ingredients from solar cells, but the new device depends on photocatalysts fixed on a sheet to generate a photocatalyst sheet. It is also very cost-effective.

Well the new technology is much better and it makes clean fuel which is easy to store and explains the ability to produce the fuel products The size of the test unit was 20cm2 and it can extend up to several square meters according to the research group. Also, formic acid can be collected in a solution and it can be chemically converted into various kinds of fuel.

“It was surprising for us the way it worked in terms of its selectivity and almost it produced no bi-products”

Dr. Qian Wang, Study First Author, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge

The CO2 that converts cobalt-based catalysts is quite easy to compose and it is more stable. This technology will be easier to grow than the artificial leaf but it needs to be improved more before it is deployed into any commercial purpose. The research group is analyzing with different catalysts to improve the stability and make it more efficient.

The present results were collected with the joint effort of the team of Professor Kazunari Domen from the University of Tokyo and a co-author of the research.

The teams are now working on the system to make it more advanced and increase its ability. Various catalysts are being explored now so that they can be used on the device to get various solar fuels. Well, this device will help us to get energy resources which will put a big remark in the future.  

Source – University Of Cambridge

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