Turning sunlight into clean fuel
A Florida State University researcher has discovered an artificial material that mimics photosynthesis and potentially creates a sustainable energy source. The researchers have created a material that enables simple, efficient and cheap artificial photosynthesis. This is a single-layer manganese oxide material that efficiently traps sunlight and makes it easy to break down that energy into hydrogen and oxygen. Current light-gathering techniques, like solar cells, frequently need multiple layers just to work at all — this would be far cheaper and simpler to make.
Creating a single-layer material that can efficiently trap light is a much more desirable outcome because it is much simpler and cheaper to manufacture. This process could be used to forge new energy sources in a carbon neutral way. Potentially, hydrogen could be transported to other locations and burned as fuel.
The material is still not yet available, but it's easy to see how it could be useful in everyday life. Imagine hydrogen-fueled cars that could generate some of their supply on their own, and homes with special roofs could contribute oxygen without requiring special plant beds.