ARTIFICIAL PHOTOSYNTHESIS COULD CLEAN THE AIR
Researchers claim that they have found a way to annihilate pollution by implementing the use of artificial photosynthesis. By converting carbon dioxide into energy using only the sunlight, like plants do when undergoing photosynthesis, it will help us diminish the level of pollution. The latest work in the field of green energy was conducted by researchers at the University of Central Florida (UCF).
Scientists developed a way to transform carbon dioxide into energy.
- They developed a synthetic material which is able to absorb sunlight which can break off CO2 molecules and then turn it into energy.
- The process of artificial photosynthesis could help us annihilate pollution.
They developed a synthetic material able to transform sunlight into solar fuels, engulfing all the carbon dioxide from the air during this process. Artificial photosynthesis could be an extraordinary breakthrough if they could prove that it works at a great scale. This prospect inspired many scientists who wanted to develop an environmental panacea.
Previous studies have proved that it is possible to build artificial leaves which undergo the same process, recreating the energy-exploiting abilities of real leaves. In other studies, experts also designed photoelectrochemical cells inspired by the eyes of a moth and hybrid energy systems. Nevertheless, their goal still appears to be untouchable. Concerning the new study developed by the team of scientists at the UCF, one of the most significant challenges is centered on the wide range of sunlight types which can be utilized to start the chemical process.
The plan is to alter carbon dioxide, breaking it down into organic materials later used as fuel. Researchers point out that the UV rays of the sun are powerful enough to trigger this chemical reaction in common materials like titanium oxide. However, the problem is that UV rays stand for just 4% of the sunlight which reaches our planet.
On the other hand, the rays in the visible range represent the majority of sunlight which touches the Earth. However, there appears an issue regarding the fact that very few types of materials can track these light colors and kick off the reaction. Among those materials, specialists listed iridium, rhenium, and platinum. Unfortunately, all these are very expensive.
Thus, scientists needed to think of a solution to build this artificial photosynthesis process with affordable materials and visible light. The study was conducted by Fernando Uribe-Romo, an assistant professor, who led the team of chemists at UCF. They analyzed common titanium and then added organic molecules, and they hoped that this would be used as a light-sucking antenna. Those molecules together with the titanium were arranged as a metal-organic framework (MOF).
This mixture proved to break up the carbon dioxide from the air and transformed it into two types of solar fuel, formamides, and formate.
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