Chemists create molecular 'leaf' that collects and stores solar power without solar panels

Chemists create molecular 'leaf' that collects and stores solar power without solar panels

An international team of scientists led by Liang-shi Li at Indiana University has achieved a new milestone in the quest to recycle carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere into carbon-neutral fuels and others materials.

The chemists have engineered a molecule that uses light or electricity to convert the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide -- a carbon-neutral fuel source -- more efficiently than any other method of "carbon reduction."

The process is reported in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

"If you can create an efficient enough molecule for this reaction, it will produce energy that is free and storable in the form of fuels," said Li, associate professor in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Chemistry. "This study is a major leap in that direction."

Burning fuel -- such as carbon monoxide -- produces carbon dioxide and releases energy. Turning carbon dioxide back into fuel requires at least the same amount of energy. A major goal among scientists has been decreasing the excess energy needed.

This is exactly what Li's molecule achieves: requiring the least amount of energy reported thus far to drive the formation of carbon monoxide. The molecule -- a nanographene-rhenium complex connected via an organic compound known as bipyridine -- triggers a highly efficient reaction that converts carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide.

The ability to efficiently and exclusively create carbon monoxide is significant due to the molecule's versatility.

"Carbon monoxide is an important raw material in a lot of industrial processes," Li said. "It's also a way to store energy as a carbon-neutral fuel since you're not putting any more carbon back into the atmosphere than you already removed. You're simply re-releasing the solar power you used to make it."



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Thomas Cook resumes Tunisia holidays after beach attack

Thomas Cook resumes Tunisia holidays after beach attack..

22-Aug, 18:00

Travel company Thomas Cook has resumed selling holidays in Tunisia to...

US travel warning for Cancun & Mexican vacation spots cites gang-related ‘turf battles’

US travel warning for Cancun & Mexican vacation spots cites gang-related ‘turf battles’..

23-Aug, 00:01

Popular Mexican vacation hot spots for Americans may not be safe to...

Email prank 'tricks' Breitbart editors

Email prank 'tricks' Breitbart editors..

23-Aug, 09:50

A British "prankster" has said editors at right-wing news website...

Whole Foods shareholders vote in favor of Amazon deal

Whole Foods shareholders vote in favor of Amazon deal..

23-Aug, 13:00

Whole Foods Market shareholders have approved the $13.7 billion Amazon...

Capitol Hill hosts blood bank in honor of Scalise

Capitol Hill hosts blood bank in honor of Scalise..

21-Jun, 01:19

Vice President Mike Pence was among those on Capitol Hill Tuesday who...

Australia treasurer promises fair budget that reins in debt

Australia treasurer promises fair budget that reins in debt..

08-May, 22:58

Australia's treasurer on Tuesday promised a budget for the next fiscal...

The Note: Russia on Trump's Mind

The Note: Russia on Trump's Mind..

12-May, 08:40

NOTABLES -- ANALYSIS BY ABC'S RICK KLEIN. President Trump has shown no...

Alex Jones releases secretly-recorded audio clips with Megyn Kelly

Alex Jones releases secretly-recorded audio clips with Megyn Kelly..

16-Jun, 21:26

Controversial radio host Alex Jones released what he said is...