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UIC researchers develop artificial leaf that turns CO2 into fuel

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University of Illinois at Chicago researchers have developed a way to mimic plants’ ability to convert carbon dioxide into fuel, a way to decrease the amounts of harmful gas in the atmosphere and produce clean energy.

The artificial leaf essentially recycles carbon dioxide, said Amin Salehi-Khojin, assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at UIC and lead researcher on the project.

And it’s powered entirely by the sun, mimicking the real photosynthesis process.

“Real leaves use the energy from the sun and convert carbon dioxide to sugar,” Salehi-Khojin said. “In the artificial leaf that we built, we use the sun and we convert CO2 to (synthetic gas), which can be converted to any hydrocarbon, like gasoline.”