MIT Develops Artificial Leaf!

By Saad Riaz Qazi
Technology Correspondent, SAM Daily Times
National University of Sciences & Technology

In March, we heard of news from MIT about an artificial leaf. This leaf using only sunlight produces pure oxygen and hydrogen gas. In the yesterday’s Science edition this new technology had been elaborated in detail also a video has been released showing this device in work.

It seems more like a material than device. Neither has it had movable parts nor a specific shape and size. It is made up of semiconducting silicon. On its one side there is a unique cobalt catalyst which was discovered in 2008 by project’s Daniel Nocera. On the other side there is nickel-molybdenum-zinc alloy. Current has been created in the silicon by sunlight. After this catalyst splits the water molecules into H2 and O2 which are in gaseous forms and rise up from the other side of leaf in bubbles.
Look the video shown below from it you can get the idea about what we are talking about:
Produced gases can be separated from each other and stored in the fuel cell. Through fuel cell we can get power sometime later and pure water will be produced also.
Many researchers including Nocera has formed a company named Sun Catalytix, its goals are to research and make these artificial leaves available in the market. $9.5 million was raised last year.
Due to its leaf like shape it is easy to show it to others. Theu could be microscopic or very big. Many researches are still to be done and Sun Catalytix is working on it. It generates power so it could be used to provide energy to houses and communities and also for the reserve to use in case emergencies.


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