Science 2 min read

Black Gold Material can Turn Carbon Emissions to Fuel

Sararwut Jaimassiri /

Sararwut Jaimassiri /

Scientists in India have tweaked the chemical composition of gold, turning it into a black gold material that could absorb light and carbon emissions.

The researchers from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research said that rearranging the size and spaces in between of gold nanoparticles allowed them to create the new material equipped with the said unique properties.

The team claims that the new material could be beneficial in turning seawater into clean drinking water or converting CO2 emissions in the atmosphere into fuel. In an interview, lead researcher of the study Prof. Vivek Polshettiwar said:

“We have not doped gold nanoparticles with any other material or added other materials. We varied inter-particle distance between gold nanoparticles using a cycle-by-cycle growth approach by optimizing the nucleation-growth step, using dendritic fibrous nanosilica whose fibers were used as the deposition site for gold nanoparticles.”

The newly-formed gold material is said to be black, hence the name “black gold.”

Black Gold Material to Convert Carbon Into Fuel

In their paper published in the journal Royal Society of Chemistry, the team reported that turning the size and gaps of the gold nanoparticles led to the creation of thermal and electromagnetic hotspots. These hotspots enable the material to “absorb the entire visible and near-infrared region of sunlight’s wavelength.” It is also responsible for turning the material into black.

During their research, the team demonstrated that energy absorbed by the black gold material could be used to fight climate change. Prof. Polshettiwar explained:

“It not only harvests solar energy but also captures and converts CO2 to methane (fuel). Synthesis and use of black gold for CO2-to-fuel conversion, which is reported for the first time, has the potential to resolve the global CO2 challenge.

Now, like real trees which use CO2, sunlight and water to produce food, our developed black gold acts like an artificial tree to produce fuel – which we can use to run our cars.”

Prof. Polshettiwar expressed his confidence that soon, “commercially-viable conversion of CO2 to fuel at atmospheric conditions” would be a reality.

“It’s the only goal of my life – to develop technology to capture and convert CO2 and combat climate change, by using the concepts of nanotechnology.”

Read More: Carbon-Neutral Liquid Fuels From Sunlight And Air

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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