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MIT Professor Changing the Solar Game

Nocera fuel cellMIT Professor Daniel Nocera thinks that the incremental gains made in solar output are not the answer to cheap solar energy.  He thinks the answer is water.  Last year Nocera and other MIT colleagues wrote a technical paper describing a closed-loop energy system.

The idea is to crack a water molecule using electricity produced by solar another renewable energy source to produce hydrogen.  The hydrogen is then put through a fuel cell to produce on-demand energy, and then the waste product of the fuel cell is water which can be used over and over again.

There are commercial electrolyzers, but they are expensive and Nocera and his team have come up with a more efficient and cheaper way of doing this using pvc and a cobalt phosphate catalyst.  The cobalt phosphate catalyst can work under a variety of water qualities and temperatures.

It is postulated that 3 liters of water could power a home in a developing nation, where Nocera is aiming.  He believes all the technology is there for application in the developing world as they do not use as much electricity.  It would take further development in solar efficiency and fuel cell technology to become viable in the developed world.

via cleantechnica

image via cnet

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