Photosynthesis inspires scientists to convert sunlight-induced CO2 into solar fuel!

 Even though, previously, researchers had successfully managed to implement similar operations, they couldn't be realized due to unavailability of proper resources.

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Apr 30, 2017, 09:52 AM IST
Photosynthesis inspires scientists to convert sunlight-induced CO2 into solar fuel!
(Image for representational purposes only)

New Delhi: Ever since the phenomenon of climate change took over, the world has been trying to find new methods of conserving energy by various ways and means.

One of the most amazing discoveries has been solar energy, which requires heat and light from the sun to generate power.

Solar fuel is an effective, environmental friendly alternative to its harmful counterparts – fossil fuels. Using light as a source of energy with transducing solar energy to chemical energy, typically by reducing protons to hydrogen, or carbon dioxide to organic compounds, solar fuel can be produced and stored for later usage, when sunlight is not available.

Now, since plants use sunlight to synthesize nutrients from carbon dioxide and water, scientists have taken some inspiration from the greens and found a way to convert CO2 from sunlight into solar fuel.

This is a new, revolutionary technique to generate nuclear, solar energy as well as to translate noxious greenhouse gases into the clean air.

In a world where pollution and burning of fossil fuels have given birth to deadly greenhouse gases and levels of gases like oxygen that gives life is deteriorating, creating and producing organic fuel has been a challenge for scientists.

Even though, previously, researchers had successfully managed to implement similar operations, they couldn't be realized due to unavailability of proper resources.

Now, however, the new photosynthesis method – the trick used by trees and plants for converting CO2 into oxygen – can help convert CO2 from visible sunlight into solar fuel – a breakthrough which can ultimately transform the polluted world, we see today into a safe, and clean habitat.

According to The TeCake, a team of scientists at the University of Central Florida have revealed a technique for triggering artificial photosynthesis by means of a synthetic material, called “Titanium” which can soak up CO2 from the lights, coming directly from Sun and convert it into solar fuel.

Earlier, a number of frameworks were developed in the labs, which by using a variety of materials can switch the sunlight into power. But the majority of the materials used for the adaption method like iridium or platinum are extremely rare and finding them in abundant amount is almost impossible. But the new system has used on a commonly found, non-toxic material – Titanium for turning CO2 into Solar fuel, by selecting the organic ions that share out as light harvesters.

Furthermore, the organic molecules, used in the development process are designed for soaking up only specific colours from the light, and in this case, the hue is blue. For putting their hypothesis into the trial, researchers at the University of Florida developed a photoreactor that received Carbon Dioxide as input and converts it into two varieties of carbon forms – formate and formamides which are essentially two different types of solar fuel.

“The natural light, coming from the Sun is constructed out of a ‘spectrum of wavelengths’ and we, by using the commonly found material Titanium, thrived in picking up the visible lights coming from the sun for transforming CO2 to solar fuel”, said Chemistry Prof. Fernando Uribe-Romo from the University of Florida, The TeCake reported.