Researchers have long sought to imitate photosynthesis, harnessing the energy of the Sun to generate chemical fuels. Now, a team has come closer to this goal than ever before. The researchers developed a new copper- and iron-based catalyst that uses light to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) to methane, the primary component of natural gas. If the new catalyst can be improved further, it could help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

The new work is an “exciting advance,” says Edward Sargent, a chemist and solar fuels expert at the University of Toronto who was not involved with the research. “The advantage of generating methane is that the infrastructure to store, distribute, and utilize it is widely available already.”

Artificial photosynthesis, along with nuclear fusion, are the Holy Grail of energy production. To read more, click here.