A new catalyst created by University of Toronto engineering researchers brings them one step closer to artificial photosynthesis — a system that, just like plants, would use renewable energy to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into stored chemical energy. By both capturing carbon emissions and storing energy from solar or wind power, the invention provides a one-two punch in the fight against climate change.
“Carbon capture and renewable energy are two promising technologies, but there are problems,” says Phil De Luna (Department of Materials Science and Engineering PhD candidate), one of the lead authors of a paper published today in Nature Chemistry. “Carbon capture technology is expensive, and solar and wind power are intermittent. You can use batteries to store energy, but a battery isn’t going to power an airplane across the Atlantic or heat a home all winter: for that you need fuels.”