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Breakthrough solar cell captures CO2 and sunlight, produces burnable fuel

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posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 01:19 PM
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Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have engineered a potentially game-changing solar cell that cheaply and efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into usable hydrocarbon fuel, using only sunlight for energy.

The finding is reported in the July 29 issue of Science and was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. A provisional patent application has been filed.

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 carbon dioxide into fuel, solving two crucial problems at once. A solar farm of such “artificial leaves” could remove significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and produce energy-dense fuel efficiently.

“The new solar cell is not photovoltaic — it’s photosynthetic,” says Amin Salehi-Khojin, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at UIC and senior author on the study.

“Instead of producing energy in an unsustainable one-way route from fossil fuels to greenhouse gas, we can now reverse the process and recycle atmospheric carbon into fuel using sunlight,” he said.


Sorce

What I want to know...

The actual efficiency rate?

Does it still require strip mining for rare earth metals?

Otherwise, still very cool.




posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 01:27 PM
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a reply to: thesungod

I give the inventor of this technology six months to live.

Firey car crash is my guess. Then this will disappear.

Or the world's energy industry will welcome this with open arms, ensuring their own rapid destruction.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 01:27 PM
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a reply to: thesungod

This is very cool! I hope they follow through with this breakthrough. Great find!👍



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 01:28 PM
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It sounds interesting however it takes CO2 out of the atmosphere? What happens if this became a big thing and we suck to much CO2 up? Vegetation relies on CO2 to convert CO2 and water to sugar and oxygen.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 01:34 PM
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Burning the fuel (and any fuel) releases the co2 back into the air- there won't be a shortage any time soon.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 01:45 PM
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a reply to: lordcomac

Bingo. This could help the environment by off setting the burning of fuel for other things.

a reply to: Orionx2

A good question. I have no idea but I think it would take an empire state building sized one of these to have that impact. I could be wrong though.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 01:57 PM
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We humans would burn the fuel, though, and re-release that co2. Might help keep us from burning quite as much fossil fuel- but until we start capturing more co2 than we release and start pumping it back into the ground (ha!) we'll keep adding more and more to the air.
The plants must love us- right up until we kill them, too.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 03:41 PM
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a reply to: thesungod

Big question though will this effect the new industry of global warming and its tariffs and its developing industries?

If it puts any of this at risk will it see the light of day for use by the public etc?



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 03:52 PM
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a reply to: thesungod

This is not new. Joule unlimited has been working on basically the same thing for six or seven years. Having the science, and being able to create fuel in a lab or even a pilot plant is dramatically different from it being scalable and cost effective at scale.

I have followed far to many biofuel startups that have spectacularly failed despite extrodinary claims to give any credence to this claim.

I suppose someone will eventually solve our energy problems, but my bet is it will be fusion not biofuels when it does happen.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 03:53 PM
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a reply to: Shiloh7

Another really good question. Wouldn't be the first, nor the last time.

5000 patents locked up the Fed.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 03:57 PM
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a reply to: proximo

This isn't a start up, this is a University.

The article states that this process can be done en mass and has a high efficiency rate. How high we don't know.

Right there with you on biofuels otherwise.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 04:44 PM
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a reply to: thesungod

so no suicide?

Then it wont work.

If it did, the inventors would be suicided.

We cant have energy freedom, would make the ME completely irrelevant. And with that, all our woes....so no.

Want to laugh, cant.


edit on 7 31 2016 by tadaman because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 04:47 PM
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originally posted by: lordcomac

Burning the fuel (and any fuel) releases the co2 back into the air- there won't be a shortage any time soon.


You do not necessarily have to burn all of the fuel, you could sequester some to remove it from the atmosphere.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 05:00 PM
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In the end, even if we do get free energy, or what should be super free energy. We'll still be paying through the nose for it.

Heck places are already passing and trying to pass laws to make people who are self reliant on energy pay money for it anyway.

With laws like that, I don't see how people cannot see that the long hours we work, and the constant way they make life unaffordable is an attempt to turn us all into slave labor too busy just surviving to ever fight back.

No I wait I can see why, they've been successful, everyone already is too busy just surviving to fight back.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 05:03 PM
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originally posted by: AugustusMasonicus

originally posted by: lordcomac

Burning the fuel (and any fuel) releases the co2 back into the air- there won't be a shortage any time soon.


You do not necessarily have to burn all of the fuel, you could sequester some to remove it from the atmosphere.


My thought exactly.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 05:05 PM
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a reply to: tadaman

They don't always suicide people. Sometimes they just lock up the patent.
edit on 31-7-2016 by thesungod because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 05:09 PM
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originally posted by: Orionx2
It sounds interesting however it takes CO2 out of the atmosphere? What happens if this became a big thing and we suck to much CO2 up? Vegetation relies on CO2 to convert CO2 and water to sugar and oxygen.

Taking CO2 out of the atmosphere wouldn't be much of a deal because it'd quickly return to the atmosphere as soon as its been burned.
edit on 16201624pmk2016 by yosako because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 06:01 PM
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originally posted by: yosako

originally posted by: Orionx2
It sounds interesting however it takes CO2 out of the atmosphere? What happens if this became a big thing and we suck to much CO2 up? Vegetation relies on CO2 to convert CO2 and water to sugar and oxygen.

Taking CO2 out of the atmosphere wouldn't be much of a deal because it'd quickly return to the atmosphere as soon as its been burned.

If your burn CO2 doesn't that turn into carbon monoxide and not carbon dioxide?



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 08:10 PM
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a reply to: Orionx2

exactly what i was thinking, so in 100 years we`ll be trying to find ways to add co2 to the atmosphere.



posted on Jul, 31 2016 @ 11:11 PM
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Let me provide you an internal link related to the topic....

www.abovetopsecret.com...

Earth is not the only planet with a global warming issue in this solar system.







 
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