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Artificial Leaf

The artificial leaf could be one of the most important inventions of this decade.  No, this wasn’t the first time someone has invented such a thing, but it was the first time someone perfected the technology and is on the cusp of making it widely available.  Meet Daniel Nocera, Ph.D.

The first artificial leaf worked but on a limited basis.  It was costly because it used precious metals and was unstable, only lasting a day at most.  Nocera’s leaf is different.  It works on nickel and cobalt and is highly stable.  That makes it cost effective.  When the nickel and cobalt are immersed in water and exposed to sunlight, the “leaf” can split water into hydrogen and oxygen 10 times more efficiently than a natural leaf.

Welcome to a hydrogen economy.  When placed in a gallon of water in the bright sun, this device could power a home in a developing country for a day.  As the nickel and cobalt react and split the water into it’s components, the oxygen and hydrogen are stored in a fuel cell for later use.  This way even when the sun is not shining, electricity can be produced.

via sciencedaily

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