The solar leaf

The solar leaf

Editorial Staff
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The innovative system which imitates the photosynthesis process of plants and produces energy from CO2 has arrived from the University of Chicago

From the solar cell to the photosynthetic cell. Researchers at the University of Chicago have devised an innovative system capable of transforming  the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere into hydrocarbons. Unlike traditional solar cells, the photosynthetic cell inverts the paradigm with which the energy is produced creating a cycle which is capable of recycling the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into fuel thanks to the light of the sun. Basically, it behaves like a plant but instead of converting carbon dioxide into sugars, the "artificial leaf" provides synthetic gas or "syngas", a mix of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. This solar gas may be burned directly, or converted into other forms of fuel, like diesel. The benefit is two-fold: obtaining more clean energy while absorbing the CO2  present in the air. Following several tests, the system is ready to be marketed and it is already being considered for exportation to Mars, which is mainly composed of carbon dioxide.