Mouli Cohen on Artificial Inorganic Leaf Design Inspired by Nature

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Mouli Cohen shares a few thoughts about drawing inspiration from nature for the common good.

Researchers have taken a step forward by taking a look back into the way that energy was produced without human intervention. The recently developed design strategy for the production of energy based on the structure of a leaf promises to free the world of oil, coal and other carbon-producing fuel sources.

Mouli Cohen, a successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and advocate of green technologies, weighs in on the concept and its implications.

Because the world was perfectly sustainable before human beings began to use fossil fuels and coal to produce energy, scientists from State Key Lab of Matrix Composites at Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai in China, have drawn inspiration from nature itself. Focusing on the simple internal structure of a leaf and its ability produce energy from water and sunlight, the group of scientists from China seeks to capture solar energy and use it to change water into hydrogen fuel.

Mouli Cohen notes that "Taking inspiration from nature has long been the fallback for scientists and inventors around the world." He recalls that common technologies today are plain examples, from the first airplanes based on the flight of predatory birds, to everyday materials such as Velcro, which was inspired by the tiny hooks on the burrs of the common Burdock plant.

The AIL, or artificial inorganic leaf, that they came up with is based on the natural leaf and titanium dioxide (TiO2) - a chemical already recognized as a photocatalyst for hydrogen production.

Although products have already been developed to run on hydrogen, there has yet to be a cost-effective and sustainable way to produce it. The research involved in the development of the AIL holds the potential to break this particular limitation.

"If this proves to be successful," Cohen adds, "Not only will it reduce – and eventually even eliminate – our dependence on unsustainable energy sources, but it will cause a wave of other innovative projects based on the designs of nature."

About Mouli Cohen
Mr. Cohen is a successful entrepreneur who has founded and developed successful ventures in the biotechnology, high technology, digital media and entertainment sectors. He has balanced his success in business with philanthropic activities. Over the years he has supported children's charities, food programs, medical research, and the arts as well as education projects both in the US and abroad.


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