Artificial Leaf to Cheaply Provide Power For Developing World

Mar 28, 2011
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Yesterday we came to another major breakthrough in technology that's going to bring us a future without dependence on petroleum fuels. Last week we talked about a breakthrough in nanotech-batteries that charge in a fraction of the time needed for conventional batteries. Yesterday, scientists at the 241st Meeting of the American Chemican Society released details on a new design, an advanced solar cell married with fuel cells. Instead of transforming sunlight into stored sugars for a plant's metabolism, the artificial leaf uses the energy to transform water into hydrogen and oxygen for later combustion.

Daniel Nocera is the MIT chemist responsible for this amazing piece of technology. He says of this.

Nature is powered by photosynthesis, and I think that the future world will be powered by photosynthesis as well in the form of this artificial leaf.

Researchers claim that this device could power a home in the developing world. Wired UK reports that the scientist has negotiated with Tata Group of India to produce a power plant smaller than a car. Should we think of that like an artificial tree? Nocera said, "One can envision villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing an affordable basic power system based on this technology." This deal is slated to wrap up late 2012.

[via Wired UK]


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