28 Mar 2011:
Solar ‘Artificial Leaf’
Is Unveiled by MIT Researchers
MIT chemist Daniel Nocera has unveiled details about his long-awaited “artificial leaf” invention
, a small solar cell that mimics photosynthesis and has the potential to produce low-cost electricity for individual homes — an advance that could be particularly valuable in the developing world, where many people lack electricity. About the size of a playing card, the solar cell — which uses inexpensive and widely available materials like silicon — is able to split water into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen. Placed in a gallon of water in bright sunlight, the device could produce enough electricity to supply a house in a developing country with electricity for a day. The hydrogen and oxygen gases produced by the artificial leaf could be stored in a small fuel cell, which would use the gases to generate electricity. Nocera, who has been working on the technology for several years, released details about it during the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in California. “Our goal is to make each home its own power station,” said Nocera. While U.S. researchers had previously developed a so-called “artificial leaf,” Nocera’s recent discovery of inexpensive catalysts, including nickel and cobalt, has made the technology more efficient and cost-effective.
Yale Environment 360 is
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Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
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Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
Ugandan scientists monitor the impact of climate change on one of Africa’s most diverse forests and its extraordinary wildlife. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.