Harvard’s Bionic Leaf Turns Sunlight into Liquid Fuel


The original purpose of designing an artificial leaf was to harness light to break water into hydrogen and oxygen, thereby mimicking a real leaf’s photosynthesis. The bionic leaf is one step up from this process, in that it incorporates a type of bacterium that has been engineered to convert carbon dioxide plus the above hydrogen into isopropanol – a liquid fuel – as a byproduct of its natural metabolic processes.

The success of this process shows that it is possible to collect solar energy and store it as a liquid fuel. Both the original artificial leaf and the bionic leaf were developed by research teams at Harvard University.


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