Game-changing Solar Device! CO2 to Fuels?

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Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago have published a new solar device, which can transfer CO2 in the air to hydrocarbon fuels with only solar energy.  Once this technology becomes commercialized successfully, it may be a game-changing device.  This may be the cure for the critical greenhouse effect.

The conventional solar battery converts the sunlight to electric energy and stores in the battery; compare to the plants which grow by converting the CO2 to carbohydrate.  Therefore, the researchers call this device as artificial leaves.  It can transfer atmosphere CO2 to CO and blend with hydrogen, in order to produce fuel with commercial value.  The goal of the research team is to control the produce cost under $US 2 per gallon, which is competitive to the natural gas and fossil oil.

“The benefit of this device is it uses solar energy directly, which doesn’t need any electricity or outer energy.  The key is the catalyst.  The original method is using precious metal like platinum, silver, or palladium as catalyst.  This research successfully utilizes nano WSe2 as catalyst.  Compare to precious metal catalyst, it is 1,000 times faster and about 20 times cheaper.” says Amin Salehi-Khojin, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at UIC.

Once this device can succeed commercialization, it will build a better, cheaper, and more effective solar electricity storage system.  This work is funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy for valuable technologies and engineering achievements.  The research team has apply for patent and will spend two to three years to prepare commercialize and mass production.

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