Huge Artificial Leaves Should Clean Our Air

Huge Artificial Leaves Should Clean Our Air

Scientists have developed a leaf that absorbs carbon dioxide from the air and forms oxygen and fuel. They should be placed in parks to cool the climate.

Researchers have genetically engineered plant ivy so it can absorb microscopic particles of the chloroform and benzene substances that ordinary air filters cannot capture.

Southeast Asia's mangrove forests know something very special. They store five times as much coal as other tropical forests.

Analysis of 25 mangrove forests in Southeast Asia shows that they store five times as much carbon per square kilometer as other tropical forests. Therefore, harvesting of mangrove forests is a more significant climate threat than the clearing of other tropical forests.
Eighty-five percent of the coal is underground and consists of dead animals, plants, and other organic matter, which comes with the water and holds by the mangrove roots.

Artificial leaves that mimic nature’s photosynthesis have been invented several times.

They encounter the same problem: They can convert carbon dioxide from gas tubes in a laboratory, but not isolate carbon dioxide from ordinary atmospheric air.

That problem has now been solved by American scientists who have developed a membrane that encapsulates the artificial leaf so that it is bathed in water during photosynthesis.

The membrane is transparent, semi-permeable, and consists of an ion exchange resin based on a quaternary ammonium compound. The sunlight can heat the water to evaporate.

The result is that carbon dioxide is drawn in through small openings on the top of the membrane. They correspond to the cleft openings that natural leaves have. Then photosynthesis takes place as in other artificial leaves.

Takes up ten times as much carbon dioxide from the air

A light-absorbing material captures energy from the sunlight, which, together with several excipients, initiates photosynthesis. The leaf converts carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon monoxide. The acid can be collected or released, while carbon monoxide can be used in synthetic fuels.

The artificial leaf can absorb ten times as much carbon dioxide from the air as a regular leaf with the same surface.

In practice, the blade will resemble a solar panel, and if it is 1.7 meters long and 0.2 meters wide, it can produce 1.4 kilos of carbon monoxide a day.

A park with 360 panels will be able to extract 792 kilos of carbon dioxide from the air per day.

 

Waterproof membranes give artificial leaves natural properties

Researchers have invented a membrane that embeds artificial leaves in water. This allows the leaves to extract carbon dioxide from the air and thus supply themselves with the raw material for photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis is kicked off

With copious amounts of carbon dioxide, the leaf can conduct photosynthesis, where the greenhouse gas is converted to oxygen (O2) and carbon monoxide (CO).

Water evaporates

As the sun warms the water behind the membrane, it can evaporate through the underside of the blade. As the vapor leaves the blade, carbon dioxide (CO2) is drawn in through small gap openings on the top.

Photosynthesis is kicked off

With copious amounts of carbon dioxide, the leaf can conduct photosynthesis, where the greenhouse gas is converted to oxygen (O2) and carbon monoxide (CO).

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