CO2 as energy? Mumbai scientist shows the way

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A scientist from Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Fundamental Research has developed a material that can mimic photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide to fuel. The invention has the potential to combat global warming.

Dr Vivek Polshettiwar, an associate professor in the Division of Chemical Sciences, has named his invention 'Black Gold', which has been published in the scientific journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry, UK. He is now looking to patent the product.

Carbon dioxide, emitted by vehicles, factories and burning coal, has been one of the significant reasons for climate change in many past decades. "By using nanotechnology, we have turned actual gold into Black Gold," said Dr Polshettiwar, who hails from Nagpur.

The scientist said they reduced the gaps between gold nanoparticles in a way that the shiny metal absorbed the entire visible and near-infrared region of solar light and became black. "Hence the name Black Gold."

Like trees use sunlight, carbon dioxide, water to produce food with the help of chlorophyll, Black Gold

"Although the production of fuel is low at this stage, we hope to convert carbon dioxide using atmospheric conditions in a big way," said Dr Polshettiwar.

Asked how can one use gold, expensive metal, in the process, Dr Polshettiwar said it is required only to make the Black Gold. "I know, only gold is fit to produce desired results. We are trying for low-cost alternatives."

The wonder material can also be used to extract potable water from seawater. "Black Gold can vaporize water and the steam can be cooled for drinking purpose," said Dr Polshettiwar. PhD students Mahak Dhiman and Ayan Maity were part of the project, which is supported by the Department of Atomic Energy and Department of Science and Technology.

– Zee Media Newsroom

"LIKE PLANTING ARTIFICIAL TREES"

  • TIFR scientist Dr Vivek Polshettiwar said ‘Black Gold’ mimics photosynthesis and rearranges elements in to make methane
  • With India's CO2 emissions growing at an alarming rate, the invention has the potential to fight climate change

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