New Solar Cell Uses Carbon Dioxide And Sunlight To Produce Hydrocarbon Fuel

It is the dawn of a new era if the report from tech times is to be taken seriously. Researchers have developed a new solar cell that converts carbon dioxide into hydrocarbon fuel using sunlight. The artificial leaf may help solve problems related to energy use. Researchers have developed a new type of solar cell that is capable of transforming carbon dioxide into usable hydrocarbon fuel using only sunlight as energy.

Compared with conventional solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity to be stored in batteries, the new solar cells cheaply and efficiently convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere directly into usable fuel.

The new device works much like trees and plants that capture and convert carbon dioxide into sugars to store them into energy. Unlike plants that use catalysts to produce sugar, the researchers used nanoflake tungsten diselenide catalyst to convert carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide.

The potentially game-changing system may solve crucial problems related to energy use. The new solar cells produce usable energy-dense fuel, which could help address challenges linked with the burning of other kinds of hydrocarbons such as oil, gasoline and coal.

A solar farm of these so-called artificial leaves can also remove significant amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the atmosphere known to significantly drive global warming.

In plants, the process of converting carbon dioxide into sugar involves the organic catalyst enzyme. Curtiss, a chemist from the Argonne National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, and colleagues, however, used a metal compound called tungsten diselenide as a catalyst that can convert carbon dioxide into usable fuel.

Carbon monoxide is also a planet-warming greenhouse gas but scientists have already found a way to convert it into usable fuel such as methanol. Converting carbon dioxide into something usable, on the other hand, is more challenging because of it being relatively chemically unreactive.

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