Lab-Bound Leaves Plants are nature’s air purifiers. They take in carbon dioxide (CO2) and, through photosynthesis , create oxygen and energy. Researchers have designed various “artificial leaves” that mimic this process in the hopes that we could use the devices to fight rising greenhouse gas levels. But while some of their designs work well in the lab, they haven’t translated to the real world. Now, a team from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) think it’s found a way to bring artificial leaves out of the lab and into a natural environment — and their device could play a major role in cleaning up our air. Bubble Ploy According to UIC researcher Meenesh Singh , the problem with existing artificial leaves is that they draw pure CO2 from pressurized tanks in the lab, but in the real world, they need to be able to pull C02 from the air around them. In a paper published in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering , the UIC team describes a new design intended to give artificial leaves that ability. They propose placing a traditional artificial leaf inside a water-filled capsule constructed out of a semi-permeable membrane. When the sunlight […]


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