Scientists have theoretically designed a new material that could help supply the world with clean energy by turning water into fuel, using just the power of the sun.
Chemists at the University of Reading say a new catalyst, which mimics the way plants absorb energy from the sun, could make the energy-sapping job of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen relatively easy.
As well as potentially being able to produce hydrogen for fuel cells, the complex new material could also be used to turn carbon dioxide from the air into a carbon-based fuel, such as methanol.
Dr Ricardo Grau-Crespo, from the Chemistry Department of the University of Reading, led the team that made the discovery.
“Finding a material that can help create readily available fuels is one of the holy grails of science,” he said.
“While we still have a long way to go, our new findings could be a significant step forward in the search for cheaper, environmentally-friendly fuels to power the future.”