It’s incredibly daunting to think that future generations won’t be growing up in the same environment as the one in which we have spent centuries taking for granted. Climate change, global warming, animal extinctions and other environmental threats are becoming more alarming and apparent.
Governments are now beginning to step up and take the scientific evidence more seriously, and we have to give them credit for starting the initiative to potentially prevent or at least deter these threats from wiping out the entire planet. Scientists are still working hard to help make our environment more healthy and sustainable.
Recently, a team of international scientific researchers has created an artificial leaf which utilizes the process of photosynthesis to create a new source of fuel. Two researchers from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) named Professor Jae Sung Lee and Professor Ji-Wook Jang collaborated with German scientist Professor Roel van de Krol on the project. The team hoped to find a way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by creating a technological source of fuel.
According to an article published on Science Daily, they first started their research by creating a hetero-type dual photo electrode, consisting of two photoanodes of different bandgaps which are connected for the extended light harvesting. These connections on the artificial leaf mimic the process of underwater photosynthesis of marine plant life when placed in water. The leaf absorbs energy from a light artificially when immersed in water and then creates its own fuel, just like photosynthesis. This natural process splits water into hydrogen and oxygen, creating a source of fuel.
The team is optimistic about their creation’s ability to reduce carbon dioxide emissions; the artificial leaf is a more efficient and renewable source of energy. In the article, Professor Lee is also optimistic about the plant’s potential to provide a fuel source for hydrogen cell vehicles. “This technology will greatly contribute to the establishment of the renewable energy type hydrogen refueling station by supplying cheap fuel for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.”
Though the plant may not be natural, it is still utilizing the natural process of photosynthesis to technologically create a renewable source of energy. These are certainly the kind of environmental innovations our government should be learning from, using our rapidly growing technology to mimic nature’s most natural processes. Any method to help save our planet.