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Nissan strengthens fight against carbon emissions

The Japanese carmaker's weapon of choice is artificial photosynthesis

This material converts normal light into the appropriate light needed for artificial photosynthesis. PHOTO FROM NISSAN

A term loosely thrown around these days, especially with regard to electric vehicles, is “carbon neutrality.” It is the state of net-zero carbon-dioxide emissions. Nissan, like many responsible companies, has been working on considerably reducing theirs. 

Electric vehicles are powered by clean energy and are supposed to have zero carbon dioxide emissions. But what about the emissions made during production and assembly?

To have a true carbon-neutral output, the energy used during production must be sustainably-sourced and must not rely on fossil fuels. While this process takes time to accomplish, innovation in different areas can help achieve this goal.

Nissan, in collaboration with the Tokyo Institute of Technology, has created a photon upconversion solid material that converts long wavelength light (visible light to near-infrared) into short-wavelength (UV) light, which helps in improving the efficiency of artificial photosynthesis.

This new material is 30% more effective than its organic counterpart. PHOTO FROM NISSAN

It is so efficient that it even works in weak sunlight, and is more stable than its organic counterpart which deteriorates when oxygen is present.

Artificial photosynthesis allows water to split into hydrogen and oxygen. The result is then placed in a chemical reaction (synthesis) to produce raw compounds (like olefins) to be used for resins. These resins can then be used in manufacturing products.

This may be too much science talk, but trust us, this is cool. This breakthrough enables Nissan to use the carbon dioxide byproducts created during production, as raw material which they can use to produce other goods. This helps to greatly reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. In a nutshell, this new technology will aid Nissan in reaching its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. And that would be a major win not only for the environment but also for the whole planet.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.