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17 October 2017

Recycling CO2… It’s a work of art!

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The transformation of carbon dioxide into useful chemicals has inspired Turkish artist Pinar Yoldas to depict the complex process in symbolic works of art

A book of learning experiences, in which every chapter is explained through a piece of art. The theme: the transformation of CO2 into something useful, using man-made diamonds. The author: the Turkish artist Pinar Yoldas, based in the United States.

She has been inspired by the research of a European scientific team, which is recycling carbon dioxide into useful chemicals, to get fuel for cars for example, reducing the greenhouse gas in the air at the same time.

The process mirrors the photosynthesis of plants. All the reactions take place in water or ionic liquid, under the action of the sunlight, used to excite the high energy electrons of synthetic diamond, explains Anke Krueger from the Institute for Organic Chemistry of Julius-Maximilians University in Wuerzburg, Germany, and leader of the DIACAT project.

Every step of the carbon dioxide conversion has been interpreted by Yoldas, a graduate of Architecture at Middle East Technical University, in Ankara, Turkey. “Each object talks about or refers to a chapter of the project. For example, one is inspired by the nanodiamond lattice,” the artist told youris.

Yoldas created a lattice structure using processing computer tools, to show the platform of the CO2 breaking down under the action of synthetic diamond. The work recently was on public display in Brussels, at the BOZAR Centre for Fine Arts.

Digging into the complex chemical process and understanding the photocatalytic conversion of the CO2 was not difficult for Yoldas, a former winner in national chemistry olympiad. “I thought that their project was super crucial, given the fact that we are all confronted with climate change,” she adds. “Education is the only mass weapon we have, to address our global problems and to bring solutions to them. In that sense, I try not only to communicate the science, but an ideology for a better future.”

As for the scientists, the contribution of an artist in reaching a larger audience is welcomed. “Not everyone reads the scientific papers, so what the artist is doing is helping to reach those people, rather like a scientific publication would do. We had some very interesting discussions, which broadened our views as well,” points out Krueger.

The collaboration between the artist and the FET project DIACAT is part of the FEAT programme, supported by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Framework programme for research and innovation. provides its content to all media free of charge. We would appreciate if you could acknowledge as the source of the content.