Turning over a new (Bionic) Leaf


1) Energy

Carbon-based fuels produce climate change-inducing greenhouse gases and are in limited supply. Renewables like solar, wind and geothermal energy are more difficult to store for use in the future or in a different location from the collection site. Batteries can be used to store energy, but they are expensive and inefficient.

2) The Bionic Leaf 2.0 – 

  • “Bionic Leaf 2.0.” is a highly efficient artificial leaf that turns solar energy into liquid fuel.
  • The leaf performs a more efficient version of photosynthesis, capturing 10 times more solar energy than plants do.
  • Bionic leaves split water into its constituent parts – oxygen and hydrogen. Then microbes digest the hydrogen, which converts carbon dioxide from the air into liquid fuel (see diagram above).

3) Stakeholders

  • Generator manufacturers
  • Car manufacturers
  • Researchers developing and perfecting the bionic leaf

4) Deployment

  1. Prototype models that are integrated into existing systems (car engines, generators)
  2. Perform a greenhouse gas assessment of the prototypes
  3. Identify and address barriers to scaling up the technology

Sorry, leaves — we figured out a way to do photosynthesis better than you


One thought on “Turning over a new (Bionic) Leaf

  1. A wonderful example of biomimicry leading to powerful technologies! To add to your point 2: the breakthrough that makes the 2.0 so much more efficient than the first model is the replacement of the Ni-Mo-Zn catalyst (which generated reactive oxygen species that damaged the genetic material of the microbes) with a new biocompatible Co-P catalyst.


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