Indian researchers develop black gold combat climate change

Indian researchers develop black gold to combat climate change

6:22 AM, 24th July 2019
Shine on black gold for brighter future: Use of black gold can get us one step closer to combat climate change. (Credit: Chemical Science)
Shine on black gold for brighter future: Use of black gold can get us one step closer to combat climate change. (Credit: Chemical Science)

MUMBAI, INDIA: Global warming is a serious threat to the planet and the living beings. One of the main causes of global warming is the increase in the atmospheric CO2 level. The main source of this CO2 is from the burning of fossil fuels in our daily lives (electricity, vehicles, industry and many more).

A team of researchers at Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) have developed completely new wonder material called ‘black gold’ nanoparticles that can convert CO2 to fuel and purify seawater to drinkable water.

Black (nano)gold could also act as a catalyst to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into methane (fuel) at atmospheric pressure and temperature, using solar energy.

In this work, by using the techniques of nanotechnology, the researchers transformed golden gold to black gold, by changing the size and gaps between gold nanoparticles.

The research is published in the scientific journal Chemical Science.

"We have not doped gold nanoparticles with any other material or added other materials," Vivek Polshettiwar, who led the research team, told India Science Wire. This black gold has the ability to absorb both light and carbon dioxide, something traditional gold can't do. This is, thus, an entirely new material,” he added.

Black Gold acts as Artificial Tree

The researchers reported that similar to the real trees, which use sunlight, CO2, and water to produce food, the developed black gold acts like an artificial tree that uses CO2, sunlight and water to produce fuel, which can be used to run our cars.

“Notably, black gold can also be used to convert sea water into drinkable water using the heat that black gold generates after it captures sunlight, added the researchers.

This work is a way forward to develop “Artificial Trees” which capture and convert CO2 to fuel and useful chemicals. Although at this stage, the production rate of fuel is low, in coming years, these challenges can be resolved. We may be able to convert CO2 to fuel using sunlight at atmospheric condition, at a commercially viable scale and CO2 may then become our main source of clean energy, said Vivek Polshettiwar, who led the research team.

According to India Science Wire, the research team included Mahak Dhiman, Ayan Maity, Anirban Das, Rajesh Belgamwar, Bhagyashree Chalke and Vivek Polshettiwar (TIFT); Yeonhee Lee, Kyunjong Sim and Jwa-Min Nam (Seoul National University). The study was funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

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