Monday, 29 Mar, 2010 Science

Latest Invention: Artificial Leaf - a Cheap Way of Creating Hydrogen


Scientists from Shanghai Jiaotong University in Shanghai are currently working on an artificial leaf that in the near future could be used as an inexpensive method of obtaining hydrogen from sunlight and water.

Researchers believe that if they succeed it would be possible to use their latest invention to make hydrogen by photosynthesis. Today's methods of obtaining hydrogen are costly and energy-consuming.

It is worth mentioning that photosynthesis enables plants to make use of solar energy to convert CO2 and H2O into organic compounds. Based on the design of a real leaf, the blueprint version of the latest invention created by the Chinese scientists is called "Artificial Inorganic Leaf" (AIL), informs Gizmag.

The working model will be able to capture sunlight energy and make use of it to part water into oxygen and hydrogen. The latter could be used to power hydrogen vehicles, which are already being manufactured by Toyota.

Scientists presented their research at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society, which took place in San Francisco. Led by Dr. Tongxiang Fan, the research team decided to use the leaves of Anemone vitifolia as an inspiration for their artificial leaf.

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