Developers of this ‘artificial leaf’ at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EFPL) were inspired by the natural process of photosynthesis.
“Natural photosynthesis occurs by taking carbon dioxide from the air, together with sunlight, and produces sugar, effectively storing the sun's light in a chemical form,” Professor Kevin Sivula, a chemical engineer at the EFPL, explained.
“We wanted to do the same thing, take sunlight and water from the air and store that sunlight energy in the form of hydrogen,” he added.
The result is a small, transparent wafer of glass fibres covered in semi-conducting material that uses sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Although artificial photosynthesis has been demonstrated before, the novel technology solves two previous problems: harvesting the water from the air and powering the chemical reaction with sunlight.
According to euronews.com