The Cry Baby is on sabbatical ....

Monday, March 28, 2011

MIT creates 'Holy Grail' of science: The artificial leaf – ten times better than real thing

Macro of Fake Rain Drops  on a LeafImage by bitzcelt via Flickr
MIT professor Daniel Nocera says he has created an artificial leaf that is ten times more efficient at photosynthesis than the real thing. The artificial leaf has been the 'Holy Grail' of science and could theoretically turn every home into its own power station.

Described as an "advanced solar cell the size of a poker card," the leaf device is made of silicon, electronics, and inexpensive catalysts made of nickel and cobalt. When placed in a gallon of water under direct sunlight, the catalysts break the H2O down into hydrogen and oxygen gases, which are then stored in a fuel cell.

"A practical artificial leaf has been one of the Holy Grails of science for decades," said Daniel Nocera, Ph.D., who led the research team. "We believe we have done it. The artificial leaf shows particular promise as an inexpensive source of electricity for homes of the poor in developing countries. Our goal is to make each home its own power station," he said. "One can envision villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing an affordable basic power system based on this technology."


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