Thursday, March 31, 2011

Could an Artificial Leaf Power Your Home?

A team of MIT scientists announced the newest breakthrough in solar energy this week. They presented their findings to the American Chemical Society. ACS says the new green technology mimics the original green.

"Scientists today claimed one of the milestones in the drive for sustainable energy -- development of the first practical artificial leaf. ... they described an advanced solar cell the size of a poker card that mimics the process, called photosynthesis, that green plants use to convert sunlight and water into energy."

The artificial leaf works by using sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Those elements can then be recombined to produce electricity, with water as the only byproduct. While the idea isn't new, Treehugger explains this is the first model that could be mass produced. "...the new leaf debuted last week uses cheaper materials -- namely nickle and cobalt -- that could be scaled up in manufacturing."

See also: Yes for Real, We Now Have a Genuine Artificial Solar Leaf

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