Researchers from Arizona State University and the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago have created an artificial leaf that can separate hydrogen and oxygen molecules from water using solar energy. Hydrogen can be used as a clean burning fuel.
Researchers have created an artificial leaf that can separate hydrogen and oxygen molecules from water using solar energy.
Hydrogen can be used as a clean burning fuel.
According to the US Department of Energy “hydrogen is an environmentally friendly fuel that has the potential to reduce our dependence on imported oil,” but it is expensive and takes a lot of energy to produce.
The researchers took a page from nature to design and create an artificial leaf that uses a process similar to photosynthesis, which plants use to generate energy.
Photosynthesis is a complex process and scientists faced initial challenges because it requires a combination of a fast chemical reaction where light is turned into energy, interacting with a slow chemical reaction where water is separated into its elements.
Finally they were able to successfully mimic the process by identifying an intermediary reaction involving a relay of electrons in which half of the atoms go to the fast reaction and the other half go to the slow reaction.