Alternative energy: did the artificial leaf, able to heat a whole house

An artificial leaf can produce a quantity of energy to support the needs of an entire home. This is not science fiction but technology presented at last found Anaheim (California) during the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society.

To show the world this new wonder was a team of scholars that Massacchussets Institute of Technology, led by Professor Daniel Nocera, added an important element in research and development of technologies to produce clean energy to be devoted to human activities.

That energy production is now in fact be one of the latest issues, controversial and debated in recent decades: in a time when nuclear power is frightening, in a historical era in which the use of fossil fuels contributes to poison the our planet and in a socio-Ecnomo in which each country seeks energy independence, the creation of new technologies for the energy market is a real blessing.

But what is it and how does that artificial leaf? The team led by Professor Daniel Nocera was inspired, quite simply, by nature. The process of this new technology re-creates, in effect, is precisely that of photosynthesis, ie the process by which plants can produce energy and nutrients from the absorption of sunlight. A photosynthetic process but the technology failed to strengthen and increase the capacity of even ten times.

The team led by Professor Daniel Nocera, in fact, has developed a solar cell, placed in a container full of water exposed to sunlight, can trigger the process of photosynthesis and then to divide the oxygen coming from ‘hydrogen, both of which, once separated, are then brought to a fuel cell capable of producing electricity and heat.

A process not only simple but also very economical components which formed the artificial leaf, in fact, are built with low cost materials such as nickel and cobalt. A device that lowers production costs by making the adoption of this new technology also beneficial for the countries in the developing world. Similarly the demand for water is relatively limited: only four liters are in fact sufficient to heat an entire house.

It is therefore a decisive breakthrough in research that we hope can be adopted on a large scale.



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