It is a small, thin, rectangular-shaped device. In a similar way to real leaves, the artificial leaf has the ability to absorb the energy of sunlight and directly convert it into a chemical fuel, which can then be used later as an energy source. The device does not need external wiring nor control circuits to operate; all it needs is to be placed within a container of water with exposure to sunlight. Best of all, the artificial leaf does this all without releasing any carbon dioxide into the air. The significance of this innovation cannot be understated, as carbon dioxide is the biggest contributor to global warming. Turning that carbon dioxide into methanol would not only decrease the greenhouse gas emissions, but also provide a substitute for the fossil fuels which create them. The inspiration for this new technology is based on the way plants use energy from sunlight to turn carbon dioxide into food. Yimin Wu, an engineering professor at the University of Waterloo, stated, “We call it an artificial leaf because it mimics real leaves and the process of photosynthesis. A leaf produces glucose and oxygen. We produce methanol and oxygen.” The artificial leaf is a device […]

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