Stem Corner

Sanjana Chava, Feature Editor

Climate change has been an ongoing problem around the world, with greenhouse gases heating up the atmosphere. Out of all the greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide is the one that has been a leading cause in global warming. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been increasing around the world, making up about 80% of greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans due to electricity, production plants, and transportation.

To help solve this issue, researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago have constructed an artificial leaf that will help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. According to Meenesh Singh, the assistant professor in UIC’s department of chemical engineering, the artificial leaf could be 10 times more efficient when it comes to converting carbon dioxide into clean energy and preventing climate change.

In the process of photosynthesis, plants convert carbon into carbohydrates and store it, while releasing the oxygen into the air. The artificial leaf also follows this same cycle of photosynthesis, except it produces carbon monoxide, instead of carbohydrates like normal trees and plants do. The carbon monoxide released by the artificial leaf can be used to create cleaner synthetic fuels.

The leaf can be used near power plants or on the roofs of houses. The current artificial leaf prototype has been tested in the lab and can work in real-world conditions, but there are still tests being run on the amount of carbon the leaf can capture from the air continuously.

(Source: CNN)