So­lar ` gold'?

A new so­lar tech­nol­ogy con­verts car­bon diox­ide into a hy­dro­car­bon fuel us­ing only sun­light for en­ergy

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A so­lar cell that con­verts at­mo­spheric car­bon diox­ide into hy­dro­car­bon fuel

RE­SEARCHERS HAVE achieved a break­through in so­lar tech­nol­ogy—a so­lar cell that cheaply and ef­fi­ciently con­verts at­mo­spheric car­bon diox­ide (CO ) di­rectly into 2 us­able hy­dro­car­bon fuel us­ing only sun­light for en­ergy. The tech­nol­ogy to turn CO into fuel at a cost com­pa­ra­ble to a gal­lon 2 of gaso­line could ren­der fos­sil fu­els ob­so­lete. Un­like con­ven­tional so­lar cells—which con­vert sun­light into elec­tric­ity that must be stored in heavy bat­ter­ies—the new de­vice es­sen­tially does the work of plants, con­vert­ing at­mo­spheric CO into fuel, solv­ing two cru­cial 2 prob­lems at the same time. The new so­lar cell is not pho­to­voltaic, it's pho­to­syn­thetic. It is 1,000 times faster than no­ble-metal cat­a­lysts and about 20 times cheaper. Science, July 29

COUR­TESY: UNIVERSIT Y OF ILLI­NOIS AT CHICAGO/JENNY FONTAINE Univer­sity of Illi­nois re­searchers show­case their in­no­va­tion

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