‘Artificial plants’ could turn carbon dioxide into fuel helping to reduce global warming

Artificial plants

The device glows blue like a tanning bed UCF: Bernard Wilchusky

An artificial form of photosynthesis that sucks carbon dioxide from the atmosphere has been invented by a scientist who claims the “breakthrough” device could be used to reduce global warming.

Plants use sunlight to turn carbon dioxide into sugar and the new device acts in a similar way, using ultraviolet light and air to create two forms of fuel, which can then be used to create power.

The scientists, Professor Fernando Uribe-Romo, of Central Florida University, and his team of students built a device using titanium, some organic molecules and a blue LED photoreactor – a glowing cylinder that looks like a bit like a tanning bed.

“It’s like photosynthesis, in which plants pick up sunlight and carbon dioxide and turn it into a sugar,” he said in a YouTube video about the research.

“In this case, instead of having a plant we have materials … that capture the sunlight and turn the carbon dioxide into something similar to sugar.”

He suggested the device, described in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, could be installed near fossil fuel-powered power stations.

“A power plant produces a lot of carbon dioxide because it’s burning coal,” Professor Uribe-Romo said.

“The carbon dioxide can be turned into a fuel and that fuel can be fed up into the power plant so then you can recycle your own carbon dioxide … and that helps to reduce emissions, obtain energy and help fight global warming.”

The device used a ‘metal-organic framework’ or MOF, a type of material created about 20 years ago which can be made in thousands of different ways, each with different properties.

 

Source/More: The Independent

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