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Wireless device makes clean fuel from sunlight, CO2 and water

last modified Sep 02, 2020 03:13 PM

Researchers have developed a standalone device that converts sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into a carbon-neutral fuel, without requiring any additional components or electricity.

The device, developed by a team from the University of Cambridge, is a significant step toward achieving artificial photosynthesis – a process mimicking the ability of plants to convert sunlight into energy. It is based on an advanced ‘photosheet’ technology and converts sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and formic acid – a storable fuel that can be either be used directly or be converted into hydrogen.

The results represent a new method for the conversion of carbon dioxide into clean fuels. The wireless device could be scaled up and used on energy ‘farms’ similar to solar farms, producing clean fuel using sunlight and water.


It’s been difficult to achieve artificial photosynthesis with a high degree of selectivity, so that you’re converting as much of the sunlight as possible into the fuel you want, rather than be left with a lot of waste,"

Dr Qian Wang, Lead author (Department of Chemistry , University of Cambridge) 

Click here for the full University of Cambridge article.

Click here for the Nature Energy publication - "Molecularly engineered photocatalyst sheet for scalable solar formate production from carbon dioxide and water" 

Image credit: Dr Qian Wang