Secrets of the First Practical Artificial Leaf

LeafSolar power is getting less and less expensive. Via ScienceDaily:

A detailed description of development of the first practical artificial leaf — a milestone in the drive for sustainable energy that mimics the process, photosynthesis, that green plants use to convert water and sunlight into energy — appears in the ACS journal Accounts of Chemical Research. The article notes that unlike earlier devices, which used costly ingredients, the new device is made from inexpensive materials and employs low-cost engineering and manufacturing processes.

Daniel G. Nocera points out that the artificial leaf responds to the vision of a famous Italian chemist who, in 1912, predicted that scientists one day would uncover the “guarded secret of plants.” The most important of those, Nocera says, is the process that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. The artificial leaf has a sunlight collector sandwiched between two films that generate oxygen and hydrogen gas. When dropped into a jar of water in the sunlight, it bubbles away, releasing hydrogen that can be used in fuel cells to make electricity. These self-contained units are attractive for making fuel for electricity in remote places and the developing world, but designs demonstrated thus far rely on metals like platinum and manufacturing processes that make them cost-prohibitive.

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6 Comments on "Secrets of the First Practical Artificial Leaf"

  1. It would be a nice excuse to model our homes to blend in with nature.  The leafs could also be used to harness some wind too, if they’re arranged and a shaped like natural leafs.

  2. Slartybartfast | May 11, 2012 at 8:00 am |

    “The article notes that unlike earlier devices, which used costly
    ingredients, the new device is made from inexpensive materials and
    employs low-cost engineering and manufacturing processes.”

    “These self-contained units are attractive for making fuel for
    electricity in remote places and the developing world, but designs
    demonstrated thus far rely on metals like platinum and manufacturing
    processes that make them cost-prohibitive.”

    Are these two statements in conflict?

  3. but leaves dont convert water and sunlight to oxygen and hydrogen… what it does is use co2 and water to produce sugar and oxygen

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