man-made leaf


  • oxygen
  • CO2 – carbon dioxide

light dependent reactions


silk protein

What’s the problem?
leaf that could enable humans to colonise space] (video 2:54)

  • Ask – Plant leaves have the ability to use carbon dioxide to produce oxygen. Could this process be replicated by a man-made material? This material could be used to improve air quality in cities, in houses and offices, and even on spacecraft to extend voyages.
  • Imagine – How do plants do it – convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into oxygen? How could plant “factories” – cholroplasts, be used to do the work? What kind of material would be necessary to hold the choloroplasts in a form that could then be incorporated into wall covering?
  • Design, Build – What is needed for a man-made leaf to to function? How can the sunlight be directed to the material? Where does the CO2 come from? How can the oxygen be captured for later use?
  • Improve – These are still just ideas with some small working examples. How can this be scaled for practical use outside the test environment?

That’s engineering

Engineering ideas

  • artificial, photosynthesis, light, energy, light dependent reactions