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Sunlight As Fuel?

Courtesy of Pexels

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire are working with a federal laboratory to create carbon-neutral fuel using sunlight.

Their new process mixes cheap, common materials like cobalt with sunlight for energy. Together, they can convert carbon dioxide in the air into stored energy – like a plant uses photosynthesis.

Associate chemistry professor Gonghu Li said their goal is to turn that stored energy into a liquid fuel...like gasoline. It could be burned for heat or power, only releasing the carbon it was made from back into the atmosphere.

"So this is a carbon-neutral process. But the nice part about this process is we take sunlight as renewable energy and what we got out of the process is heat or work."

Li said they'll keep working with federal researchers in hopes of making the process commercially viable.


Cassandra Basler, a former senior editor at WSHU, came to the station by way of Columbia Journalism School in New York City. When she's not reporting on wealth and poverty, she's writing about food and family.