Artificial leaves that float and produce fuel thanks to water, air and the Sun

What you see in the image above is a leaf made by human beings, a leaf that tries to imitate the real ones, capable of converting sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into energy.

It has been Cambridge scientists who have worked to improve the sheet they had before, one that used two perovskite light absorbers combined with a cobalt catalyst, capable of producing oxygen, hydrogen and carbon monoxide, needed to make synthetic gas. (syngas), a key ingredient in plastics, fertilizers and fuels such as diesel.

The problem is that the previous sheet took up a lot of space, had thick glass, and they needed something light that could float on water while being just as efficient.

What they have done is put light absorbing layers of perovskite on thin, flexible layers of polyester, coated with indium tin oxide, using a platinum catalyst. In the end they covered everything with ultra-thin carbon-based materials that repel water.

As a result, we have a sheet that floats and splits water into hydrogen and oxygen producing what is necessary for the gas mentioned above.

Apparently the production is comparable to natural blades, also a big improvement over the previous version.

Sheets of various sizes can be created, from 1.7 cm2 to 100 cm2, and can be used to generate cleaner fuels anywhere there is water, including the sea.

You can read more about it at, where they indicate that the program was supported in part by the European Research Council, Cambridge Trust, the Winton Program for the Physics of Sustainability, the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Council Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).