US scientists develop bionic leaf to convert solar energy into fuel

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US scientists have developed a bionic leaf that can convert solar energy into liquid fuel.

Scientists from Harvard University use a bionic leaf that mimics the chemical processes in photosynthesis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. A bacteria called Ralstonia eutropha then converts the hydrogen gas into protons and electrons. They are then integrated into carbon dioxide molecules as part of the reproductive cycle of the bacteria to form liquid fuel isopropanol, according to a press release on the Harvard Medical School’s website.

“This is a proof of concept that you can have a way of harvesting solar energy and storing it in the form of a liquid fuel,” said Pamela Silver, an author of the paper in the press release.

Although isopropanol is a combustible liquid fuel, it is currently mostly used as household disinfectant and as industrial drying agent to remove water from fuels, Yibada reported.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Bionic leaf absorbs sunlight that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen
2. Ralstonia eutropha bacteria feeds on hydrogen
3. Hydrogen converted into protons and electrons
4. Protons and electrons integrated with carbon dioxide
5. Isopropanol is formed

VOICEOVER (in English):
“Scientists used a bionic leaf that mimics the chemical processes in photosynthesis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.”

“A bacteria called Ralstonia eutropha then converts the hydrogen gas into protons and electrons.”

“They are then integrated into carbon dioxide molecules as part of the reproductive cycle of the bacteria to form the liquid fuel isopropanol.”

SOURCES: Harvard Medical School, Tech Times, National Monitor, Yibada
http://hms.harvard.edu/news/bionic-leaf
http://www.techtimes.com/articles/32879/20150214/bionic-leaf-convert-solar-energy-liquid-fuel-better-cells.htm
http://natmonitor.com/2015/02/13/sunlight-to-liquid-fuel-with-bionic-leaf/
http://en.yibada.com/articles/13123/20150211/incredible-bionic-leaf-transforms-sunlight-liquid-fuel-courtesy-harvard.htm