At a time when rainforests are facing massive deforestation, responsible for up to 20% of global green gas emissions, Julian Melchiorri, a student from The Royal College of Arts (RCA, London) has created an artificial leaf capable of producing oxygen from a little water and light. Now this will not solve the problems engendered by deforestation and this is definitely an issue we all should work on to stop deforestation and the damages done to the environment and local population.
This said, the Silk Leaf Project is a great opportunity to improve the air in our direct habitat. The leaf is created based on a silk matrix, where chloroplasts (the part from plant cell supporting photosynthesis) are implanted in the silk proteins. This allows the silk leaf to perform photosynthesis just as their natural counterpart, using water, carbon dioxide and light to create oxygen. Originally designed to be used for interior lamps to produce light as well as oxygen in our homes, this new material could also be used on a larger scale on buildings’ facade and filter clean air inside the buildings. Another attractive application would be to generate clean air for space travellers, allowing longer and farther trips.
More details about the project in this video :