Floating “artificial leaves” produce clean fuel

Researchers from the University of Cambridge developed floating “artificial leaves” that generate clean fuels using sunlight and water.  

The devices take their inspiration from photosynthesis, where plants convert sunlight into food.  

The team used flexible plastic and metal foils.  They then covered it with thin, water-repellent carbon-based layers that prevented moisture degradation.  They ended up with a device that works and looks like a real leaf.  

Tests of the artificial leaves showed that they could split water into hydrogen and oxygen or reduce C02 to make fuel called syngas.

Since the devices are light enough to float, we could use them to generate a sustainable alternative to petrol without taking up land space.  If scaled up, we can use them on polluted waterways and reduce the global shipping industry’s reliance on fossil fuels.

What do you think of these artificial leaves?  Let us know your thoughts.

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