Creating fuel from thin air with artificial leaves

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Discussion posted by: David McNamara

The sun produces more than enough energy for human activities, but we still can’t capture enough of it, points out Erwin Reisner, energy and sustainability professor at Cambridge University. He heads a team of researchers trying to capture more of that free energy. While solar panels have made big advances in recent years, becoming cheaper and more efficient, they just provide electricity, not storable liquid fuels, which are still in great demand. “If you look at the global energy portfolio and what’s needed, electricity only covers maybe 20-25%. So the question is when we have covered that 25%, what do we do next?” asks Prof Reisner. His answer is to look to nature.