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‘Bionic Leaf’ Makes Fuel From Sunlight

Science By
Live leaf cells of the moss Bryum capillare, showing abundant chloroplasts (green spherical bodies) and their accumulated starch granules (Des Callaghan/Wikimedia Commons)
Live leaf cells of the moss Bryum capillare, showing abundant chloroplasts (green spherical bodies) and their accumulated starch granules (Des Callaghan/Wikimedia Commons)

 

One major issue involving renewable energy is its storage. Aiming to find a solution, Harvard chemistry professor Daniel Nocera, along with an interdisciplinary team, created a “bionic leaf,” which artificially causes photosynthesis to occur, turning sunlight into hydrogen and oxygen.

 

The "bionic leaf" (Courtesy of Harvard University)
The “bionic leaf” (Courtesy of Harvard University)

Here’s how it works: The “leaf” is placed in water and exposed to sunlight; then, it uses the water to create hydrogen and oxygen. From there, the hydrogen can either be used for energy or continue through the system to produce a liquid fuel. The whole process of creating biomass from sunlight is done 10 times more efficiently through the “bionic leaf” than in the wild. If scaled up, the technology could personalize the energy industry, turning your home into a power plant. For more on the amazing technology, watch the video below.

Learn more about the technology behind the bionic leaf here.