Feeds

Artificial leaf produces electricity through photosynthesis

Growth industry?

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

A synthetic leaf has been created that mimics the photosynthesis process, converting sunlight and water into a source of electrical energy.

Developed by a research team at MIT led by Dr Daniel Nocera, the leaf could be a significant step towards green energy becoming a sustainable reality.

The device is shaped more like a playing card than a leaf, but is thinner and made from silicon. If it is placed in a gallon of water in bright sunlight, the artificial leaf splits water molecules into their component gases: hydrogen and oxygen.

Tap those gases in a fuel cell and you have a means to turn the leaf's output into electricity – and enough of it to power a typical developing world house for a day, Nocera reckons.

Leaf

This isn't the first attempt to make an artificial leaf – boffins at London's Imperial college have had a go before – but it is the first that could be widely used.

The key is Nocera's use of inexpensive catalysts, made from nickel and cobalt, which efficiently electrolyse the water in the presence of sunlight. In testing, he showed it could operate for a continuous 45 hours without a hiccup.

"Nature is powered by photosynthesis, and I think that the future world will be powered by photosynthesis as well in the form of this artificial leaf," Nocera said. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Kate Bush: Don't make me HAVE CONTACT with your iPHONE
Can't face sea of wobbling fondle implements. What happened to lighters, eh?
The agony and ecstasy of SteamOS: WHERE ARE MY GAMES?
And yes it does need a fat HDD (or SSD, it's cool with either)
Apple takes blade to 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
Shaves price, not screen on mid-2014 model
iPhone 6 flip tip slips in Aussie's clip: Apple's 'reversible USB' leaks
New plug not compatible with official Type-C, according to fresh rumors
Steve Jobs had BETTER BALLS than Atari, says Apple mouse designer
Xerox? Pff, not even in the same league as His Jobsiness
TV transport tech, part 1: From server to sofa at the touch of a button
You won't believe how much goes into today's telly tech
Apple analyst: fruity firm set to shift 75 million iPhones
We'll have some of whatever he's having please
Apple to build WORLD'S BIGGEST iStore in Dubai
It's not the size of your shiny-shiny...
NVIDIA claims first 64-bit ARMv8 SoC for Androids
Mile-High 'Denver' Tegra K1 successor said to rival PC performance
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.