The use of artificial leaves to combat climate change

Faced with the situation in which our planet is, science helps us to find a solution. On this occasion, a research group creates sheets capable of transforming CO2 into oxygen.

Our planet is in an extremely delicate situation because of climate change. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is the excess of CO2 in our atmosphere.

The only way to reduce these levels is thanks to the vegetation, capable of transforming CO2 into oxygen, but the problem is that there is a lot of deforestation activity causing slow work in the reduction of carbon dioxide. Is there another solution? Yes, the answer is in artificial leaves.

The natural alternative

This project has been carried out by researchers from the University of Waterloo (Belgium) and has led to a revolution in the search for alternatives to mitigate the effects of global warming.

This artificial leaf is very similar to the original leaves of plants and is able to mimic the process of photosynthesis. With only one difference, plants convert carbon dioxide into glucose and oxygen, and artificial leaves produce methanol and oxygen.

Converting carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming, into methanol would significantly reduce the emissions of gases that cause the greenhouse effect and create an alternative to current fuels.

Cuprous oxide

The main element that makes this process possible is a reddish powder material called cuprous oxide.

This component creates a chemical reaction with water, CO2 and white light as if it were sunlight. Consequently, oxygen is generated and carbon dioxide is converted into a solution in methanol water. This process occurs in record time: in one hour. The image shows the evolution of the chemical process to achieve the change from CO2 to oxygen.

Oxígeno, Metanol, CO2, Hojas artificiales

Therefore, the next advances in this research will be to increase the yield of these artificial leaves and use it in places where there is a greater exposure of harmful gases such as factories, oil plants and areas of greater concentration of vehicles.

We are on time

Global warming is very present in our daily lives. For example, the year 2019 was considered the hottest year in history.

We are on time to reverse the situation. Repopulating forests, promoting the consumption of healthy foods, using public transport or promoting the sale of green vehicles are among the initiatives promoted by a greener world.

Remember, each of us has a very important role to fight against climate change. You join?

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