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Unlike similar 'artificial leaf' this new device doesn’t require solar cells and relies solely on photocatalysts embedded on sheets. These technologies are for the conversion of carbon dioxide into clean fuels.

It’s been difficult to achieve artificial photosynthesis with a high degree of selectivity, so that you’re converting as much of the sunlight as possible into the fuel you want, rather than be left with a lot of waste,” Dr Qian Wang, Cambridge Department of Chemistry.

Researchers are working to further optimise the system and improve efficiency.

 

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I see Cobalt a political problem, not a technical or environmental one. Cobalt is essential to human life and part of our diet - although eating artificial photosynthesis sheets would present a very unhealthy overdose ;)

The only problem I know of is a major source of mined Cobalt being DRC where exploitation stems from poor human rights.

 

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The issue here is that this would be competing with a much more versatile technology: excess renewables, electrolysis to hydrogen, potential raising of hydrogen to some storable and transportable liquid fuel (methane, ammonia etc), plus import of all these options sunnier regions.
That would include electrolysis plants that could store hydrogen and inject it into the gas grid or generate power when renewables are dormant.
We'd need to see a comparison of efficiencies to see how that might pan out, but the versatility would be paramount.
And this would all be known technology: just an engineering problem, all the techniques required are already in use, in one form another.
 

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We could farm humans. Feed them rubbish and harvest the excess biofuel by liposuction.
Could these be the same humans expected to have performance-enhancing silicon microchips embedded in their brains to improve the value they deliver while working from home?
 

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Probably as thinking human-style takes a lot of calories. The good news is that we are halfway there already. You would not want them running around either, so free range would be out of the question, not that there are many at the moment who are not already well cooped up.
 
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