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MIT Perfects The Low Cost Artificial Leaf

Posted: May 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Applied Science, Biomechanic, Chemically Engineered, Science of Green | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on MIT Perfects The Low Cost Artificial Leaf

MIT Perfects The Low Cost Artificial LeafBack in July 2011 we published an exciting little post on MIT’s work with artificial leaves – MITs Artificial Leaf  – based on a silicon solar cell.

The leaf consists of a thin, flat, three-layered silicon solar cell with catalysts bonded to both faces of the silicon. Placed in water and exposed to sunlight, silicon absorbs photons of sunlight, generating electrons with enough energy to conduct through the silicon.

The process leaves behind positively charged electron vacancies called “holes” that can also move through the material. The holes migrate to a cobalt-containing catalyst painted on one face of the silicon cell, where they strip electrons from water molecules, breaking them into hydrogen ions (H+), and oxygen atoms. The catalyst then knits pairs of oxygens together to make O2. Meanwhile, the H+ ions migrate to another catalyst on the opposite face of the silicon cell, where they combine with conducting electrons to make molecules of H2. In principle, the H2 can then be stored and either burned or run through a fuel cell to generate electricity.

This is Photocatalytic water splittingworld meet the ARTIFICIAL LEAF!

Professor Daniel Nocera’s work has finally borne fruit. Nocera’s team developed the catalyst three years ago, the first practical artificial leaf has now been developed, and this new technology may help to deliver efficient carbon neutral energy to the world’s poor and developing nations.

Building on their previous research, the researchers at MIT in Boston have created an artificial leaf that, unlike earlier devices is made from inexpensive materials, and employs  low-cost engineering and manufacturing processes :: Read the full article »»»»