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Artificial leaf
Artificial leaf that converts carbon dioxide into energy. (University of Illinois at Chicago)

How this 'artificial leaf' solar cell turns CO2 into fuel you can actually use


The ability to turn CO2 into fuel at a cost comparable to a gallon of gasoline would render fossil fuels obsolete.
UIC news release

The device, created by University of Illinois at Chicago researchers, converts carbon dioxide into "syngas," a mix of hydrogen and carbon monoxide. It can be used as fuel on its own, or turned into diesel and other fuels, according to a UIC news release.

The fuel it makes is cheap, and could even power your house.

That price mark is key. Other researchers have turned carbon dioxide into energy, but only using expensive metals like silver. This device uses chemicals called transition metal dichalcogenides, which are 20 times cheaper.

It all adds up to a huge potential market, and an environmentally friendly power source. Carbon dioxide is normally the wasteful remainder from burning fossil fuels -- this device could turn that greenhouse gas into fuel.

So if you had enough of these artificial "leaves," you could both create energy and clean up the air.

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