Graphene gives renewable fuel research a boost

Graphene gives renewable fuel research a boost

Summary: Is there anything Graphene can't do? The wonder material has added another string to its bow, as researchers have found it can aid artificial photosynthesis, which could help with the creation of renewable fuels


The many astounding abilities of graphene are increasingly well known — and another one has just been unearthed.

The latest ability of graphene to be discovered involves artificial photosynthesis: according to research reported by on Tuesday, graphene could help with the production of renewable fuels.

Graphene may be able to aid artificial photosynthesis, research has found.

Graphene is a two-dimensional grid of carbon atoms arranged into a hexagonal grid; a layer of graphite just one atom thick could lead to a number of advances in electronics and computing.

Graphene, it seems, makes a particularly efficient photocatalyst. In this case the researchers found that it encourages the conversion of sunlight and carbon dioxide into formic acid without getting involved in the reaction itself.

Previous experiments with graphene had involved combinations of graphene and semiconductors. These had low electron transfer levels, and were not particularly efficient. Once coupled to an enzyme (porphyrin), graphene works very well indeed, and at just the right range to exploit the visible light that makes up 46 percent of the sunlight that falls on Earth.

The research is reported in JACS, the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Topics: Graphene, Emerging Tech, Hardware

Lucy Sherriff

About Lucy Sherriff

Lucy Sherriff is a journalist, science geek and general liker of all things techie and clever. In a previous life she put her physics degree to moderately good use by writing about science for that other tech website, The Register. After a bit of a break, it seemed like a good time to start blogging about weird quantum stuff for ZDNet. And so here we are.

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  • Too bad the government already...

    spent billions on now-bankrupt fake solar cell development to help big political donors. They could have helped with the research. Oh well.
    Tony Burzio
    • If the research is economically promising, the government

      won't need to get involved. That's a lesson too many people need to learn. The government is NOT REQUIRED for innovation and invention.
      • yeah yeah yeah

        Apparently you weren't around in the 60's were you? Government spent a ton on NASA and we are still reaping the rewards. Go study the history of the space race then come back when you have some more insight.
        • Let's not forget Bell Labs

          Or any number of other groups the government funded that produced technology we now find indispensable, which most likely would not have happened if the world had waited for private funding.
          Such as gov't and military funding of advanced optics.
          DARPA funding of DARPANET/the internet (yeah, Al Gore was telling the truth).
          Etc., etc..