London-based design engineer and innovator Julian Melchiorri believes the need for creating sustainable solutions is paramount in a world where global carbon emissions and urbanisation are growing exponentially. To this aim, Melchiorri created Silk Leaf, a man-made plant that uses water and light to create an unlimited amount of oxygen.
“It is the first prototype which introduces the potential impact that photosynthetic devices could have on our everyday life,” says Melchiorri.
The device is made of a biological material and thanks to its photosynthetic ability, Silk Leaf absorbs CO2 and produces oxygen. Only visible light and water is needed to enable the interaction.
Speaking to Dezeen, Melchiorri says Silk Leaf could be used to create oxygen in space. Embedded inside the artificial leaf is the chloroplast from the plants on Earth. Using silk fibre, Melchiorri was able to suspend the chloroplast in place so that it can still act like a plant but endure the harsh conditions of space travel.