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UCF Professor discovers method to convert greenhouse gases to clean air and produce energy

CTBR Staff Writer Published 26 April 2017

A University of Central Florida chemistry professor claims to have converted greenhouse gases into clean air while producing energy simultaneously through a newly discovered method of triggering photosynthesis in a synthetic material.

The new process according to the University of Central Florida (UCF) has the potential for making way for a technology to cut down on greenhouse gases associated with climate change besides introducing a clean concept for energy generation.

UCF Assistant Professor Fernando Uribe-Romo said: "This work is a breakthrough.

“Tailoring materials that will absorb a specific color of light is very difficult from the scientific point of view, but from the societal point of view we are contributing to the development of a technology that can help reduce greenhouse gases.”

Uribe-Romo’s team had developed a mechanism to trigger a chemical reaction in metal–organic frameworks (MOF), a synthetic material, that breaks down carbon dioxide (CO2) into innocuous organic materials.

This artificial photosynthesis type of process produces solar fuel just how plants convert CO2 and sunlight into food as per the findings of the research published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A.

Uribe-Romo is planning to find out if other visible light wavelengths of visible light can also trigger a chemical reaction with adjustments to the synthetic material. Should it work, the professor believes that the method could have a major role in the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Uribe-Romo said: “The idea would be to set up stations that capture large amounts of CO2, like next to a power plant. The gas would be sucked into the station, go through the process and recycle the greenhouse gases while producing energy that would be put back into the power plant.”

Image: New method to trigger artificial photosynthesis found to result in clean air and energy. Photo: courtesy of University of Central Florida.