A Bulgarian start-up company named Wasabi Innovations launched a crowd-funding campaign to develop an artificial leaf prototype that would convert CO2 to solar-fuel. The new innovation, SoFia, will contain soap films that bio-mimics thylakoid membrane in leafs and start an artificial photosynthesis (AP) process.

“We will use specially designed soap bubbles filled with CO2, in a low cost device to generate renewable solar-fuel ( A mixture of Hydrogen, Methane and CO ),” the company says in its campaign. “Soap bubble is a nano-thin water film that compartmentalizes a given volume of gas. The film is stabilized by molecules called surfactants. So far we have only made soap molecules to be used for detergents.”

“We are engaged in R&D with our collaborators while developing administrative and market infrastructure in parallel. The long-term vision is to impact world economy through green energy production and to provide the common platform of a seminal technology to the energy and detergent industries, where their existing worldwide infrastructure can be exploited to kick start new ventures and satisfy a vast international market potential,” the company adds on its website.

The artificial leaf would not only convert CO2 into useful fuel but it would also release oxygen into the atmosphere.

The patent for the radical idea is still awaiting approval but the company is collaborating with a consortium of researchers from Cambridge University, Uppsala University and University of Leiden, along with several others.