Solar Technology News-Artifical Leaf

  • One Artificial ‘Solar Leaf’ Could Power Entire Household
  • one prototype work for 45 hours straight without dipping in efficiency
  • …could actually make it onto the market because of its low cost. It’s created from nickel and cobalt, making large-scale manufacture feasible.
  • ‘artificial leaf’ is submerged in water under direct sunlight, allowing it to break down the liquid into hydrogen and oxygen. 
  • These gases are then stored in the fuel cell

It’s no surprise that the most notable scientific breakthroughs have come from technology that allows us to do what nature does, well…naturally.

photosynthesis solar leaf

For instance, scientists have spent years trying to replicate photosynthesis, a process so intricate and complicated it took a multitude of trials to figure out. But they have made a breakthrough—and the impact it could have on off-grid living is huge.

The announcement of the breakthrough was made by the American Chemical Society, an organization of researchers that were able to create an “artificial leaf” capable of turning sunlight directly into energy for later use.

So what makes it different from any other solar cell currently on the market? Just like a regular leaf, it uses water.

In fact, the “artificial leaf” is submerged in water under direct sunlight, allowing it to break down the liquid into hydrogen and oxygen. These gases are then stored in the fuel cell.

While the process is impressive, the amount of energy it can produce is even more amazing—one single leaf could power an entire household in a developing area. They’ve already seen one prototype work for 45 hours straight without dipping in efficiency.

While the technology itself has been around for nearly a decade now, this particular model could actually make it onto the market because of its low cost. It’s created from nickel and cobalt, making large-scale manufacture feasible.

Daniel Nocera, Ph.D. and head researcher on the team said it best:

“A practical artificial leaf has been one of the Holy Grails of science for decades. 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. One can envision villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing an affordable basic power system based on this technology.”

Photo Credit: Yoko Nekonomania via Flickr CC

Posted on March 30th in Solar Products by Kayla.

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