A research group has successfully produced clean fuel using an innovative solar-powered method.

The revolutionary technology produces clean fuel by converting carbon dioxide and water into liquid fuel. Using photosynthesis, researchers from the University of Cambridge have effectively converted CO2, water, and sunlight into multi-carbon fuels such as ethanol and propanol.

These solar fuels vary from fossil fuels, as they produce net zero carbon emissions and are entirely renewable. They also do not take away any agricultural land that could be utilised for food production, unlike biofuels.

While the technology is only at the laboratory scale, the researchers have reassured that this discovery remains as an important step in transitioning towards an economy that is not based on fossil fuels.

Dr. Motiar Rahaman, the study’s first author, said:

“Shining sunlight on the artificial leaves and getting liquid fuel from carbon dioxide and water is an amazing bit of chemistry.

“Normally, when you try to convert CO2 into another chemical product using an artificial leaf device, you almost always get carbon monoxide or syngas, but here, we’ve been able to produce a practical liquid fuel just using the power of the Sun.”

The development will open up exciting new avenues for the automotive industry and indicates hope for a far more sustainable method of producing car fuel.