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Artificial photosynthesis breakthrough makes CO2-turned fuel a reality  

American scientists have overcome a major obstacle in efforts to use CO2 emissions to produce liquid fuel.

University of Illinois chemical and biological engineering professor Paul Kenis and his research group joined forces with researchers at Dioxide Materials, a startup company, to produce a catalyst that improves artificial photosynthesis.

In artificial photosynthesis, an electrochemical cell uses energy from a solar collector or a wind turbine to convert CO2 to simple carbon fuels such as formic acid or methanol, which are further refined to make ethanol and other fuels.

“The key advantage is that there is no competition with the food supply,” said Richard Masel, the founder of the research team and CEO of Dioxide Materials “and it is a lot cheaper to transmit electricity than it is to ship biomass to a refinery.”

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