Artificial leaf produces methanol, oxygen from carbon dioxide

November 05, 2019 //By Peter Clarke
Artificial leaf produces methanol, oxygen from carbon dioxide
Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada have created an artificial leaf could have an impact on climate change by converting carbon-dioxide and water into methanol and oxygen.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, although water and energy are also precious resources.

The key to the process is the red powder cuprous oxide, which does take energy to produce  as a chemical reaction between glucose, copper acetate, sodium hydroxide and sodium dodecyl sulphate and is performed in water. The cuprous dioxide is produced while also producing oxygen and converting carbon dioxide in the water-powder solution into methanol. The methanol is collected as it evaporates when the solution is heated.

The research was led by Professor Yimin Wu of the Institute of Nanotechnology at the University of Waterloo and is in a paper " Facet-dependent active sites of a single Cu2O particle photocatalyst for CO2 reduction to methanol" published in the journal Nature Energy.

Professor Wu collaborated with Tijana Rajh and others at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, as well as scientists at California State University, Northridge, and the City University of Hong Kong.

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