Begin typing your search above and press return to search.

A new leaf

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  4 Aug 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Even if all tions miraculously come together soon to drastically cut carbon dioxide emission, there will still be enough of this greenhouse gas in the atmosphere to keep heating up the Earth for decades. It looks like a global trap with no escape. A team of researchers at the University of Illinois are however confident they have a double-barreled solution. They have devised an ‘artificial leaf’ which will not only consume carbon dioxide like real leaves do, but will also directly produce a clean fuel as added bonus. The device is basically a solar cell, but is photosynthetic rather than photovoltaic. It is made of silicon, with the magic ingredient a catalyst called ‘noflake tungsten diselenide’. A member of TMDC or ‘transition metal dichalcogenide’ family, it is said to be 20 times cheaper than other powerful catalysts and works 1,000 times faster in reducing carbon dioxide. Absorbing solar energy, it will reduce carbon dioxide to produce an energy-dense fuel ‘syngas’ or synthesis gas — a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide which can be directly burnt to produce energy without harmful byproducts. So this game-changing invention will not only help suck up excess carbon dioxide, it will also meet mankind’s growing energy needs and ‘render fossil fuels obsolete,’ claim researchers. Not only will it make our planet habitable, they believe it will also eble spacefarers colonize Mars as the Martian atmosphere is mostly made up of carbon dioxide. How scientific breakthroughs translate into everyday use depend on their commercialization. But science is its own reward, helping us to stay positive and keep pushing frontiers.

Next Story