'Artificial leaf' turns sunlight into fuel: US study

WASHINGTON: US scientists have developed an "artificial leaf" , made entirely of abundant andinexpensive material, that can convert sunlight into a chemical fuel for storage and later use.

When placed in a container of water, the silicon solar cell -- with catalytic materials on each side -- generates oxygen bubbles on one side and hydrogen bubbles on the other, which can be separated and collected.

Daniel Nocera, researcher at MIT explains  that the gases produced could then be fed into a fuel cell that recombines them into water while producing an electric current.

The sheet of semiconducting silicon is coated on one side with a cobalt-based catalyst, which releases the oxygen, and on the other with a nickel-molybdenum-zinc alloy, which separates the hydrogen.


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