Harnessing plant power (Image: Pasieka/SPL via New Scientist)
Plants naturally create hydrogen and that could be big for moving away from oil and gas through hydrogen fuel. Chinese researchers have created artificial leaves that can absorb 2 times more light and give off 3 times more hydrogen than a typical leaf. What is amazing is that the researchers are using titanium dioxide to boost the natural water splitting, hydrogen making power of a typical leaf.
Artificial leaf could make green hydrogen – tech – 10 January 2010 – New Scientist: “It is these features which make the artificial leaves so efficient at generating hydrogen, Fan says. The team immersed the artificial leaves in a solution containing 20 per cent methanol – which acts as a catalyst – and zapped them with near-ultraviolet visible light. Compared with a commercially available form of titanium dioxide called P25 that can be used to create hydrogen, the artificial leaves absorbed more than twice as much light, and gave off more than three times as much hydrogen, Fan reports (Advanced Materials, DOI: 10.1002/adma.200902039).”
It’s an example of where making up something from scratch is way harder than finding a way to make something you already have (the leaf) better.
Need help researching similar ideas out there? Let us know because we’ve got lots of experience doing it. Also, how do you think the last idea relates back to people and organizations?Did you like this? If so, please bookmark it, RSS feed.