A team of researchers in the US and Switzerland have come up with a machine that functions like plants, harnessing solar energy to produce fuels that can be used at a later time. The device uses the sun’s rays and a metal oxide called ceria to break down carbon dioxide or water into fuels that can be stored or transported.
While that is a step in the green direction, there are still obstacles to overcome as the machine isn’t very efficient at the moment, only harnessing 0.8 percent of the solar energy to produce more energy, with the major portion lost through the reactor’s wall or through re-radiation of sunlight back through the device’s aperture. The good news is that the team is confident that the efficiency rates can be boosted to 19 percent by making some improvements.
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