Guest Authors Technology

Will Artificial Leaf Energy Power Homes in the Future ?

Big Leaf
Photo by mrmac04 via MorgueFile

Very recently, ABC News covered a story about Daniel Nocera, a chemist from Harvard, that created an artificial leaf that costs slightly less than solar power to create hydrogen for fuel cells, which in turn generates electricity.

Daniel Nocera of Harvard says this artificial leaf will one day power the world.

Will the Artificial Leaf Power the World?

It’s quite simple, really, according to Daniel Nocera. This artificial leaf works very much the same as a real leaf. Its source of power is surprisingly the same as its natural counterpart, using sunlight and water to generate electricity.

Can one artificial leaf change the world?

One artificial leaf may not be enough to change the world, but Daniel Nocera sees a world where millions of artificial leaves will power homes of the future.

The idea of such a green future has inspired others to jump on board. Filmmakers Jared P. Scott and Kelly Nyks made a short film about it, called “The Artificial Leaf.”

This film won 2nd place in GE’s Focus Forward Film Contest, inspiring filmmakers to be more conscientious about plant Earth.

How Does the Artificial Leaf Work?

Scientifically, the artificial leaf is a silicon wafer coated with special catalysts that do some amazing chemistry. The catalysts splits average rainwater from H2O back into Hydrogen and Oxygen, the natural elements. The process is very similar to plant photosynthesis.

The hydrogen gas that is removed from the water is then used to generate electric power related to fuel cells.

Daniel Nocera’s goal is to use his artificial leaf invention to create a low-cost way to provide electricity for the 1.6 Billion people in the world that have none. This is a noble goal.

Currently, it only requires 1.5 bottles of drinking water plus sunlight to create enough energy to power one home. With his artificial leaf system, he can create hydrogen with his artificial leaf for approximately $6.50 per kilogram. A solar powered counterpart can do the same for about $7 per kilogram.

The Daniel Nocera Artificial Leaf could change the world one day. I believe in it. Do you?

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14 thoughts on “Will Artificial Leaf Energy Power Homes in the Future ?
  1. Interesting to think that energy could be derived from more passive means. Thanks for posting, Zack.

  2. the artificial leaf able to produce electricity by using is designed carefully and same working process of real leaf.but it uses hydrogen for electricity production.

  3. glad smart people are working on this Science and research may get us out of this jam! My other hope is a big breakthrough in battery technology

  4. @Carl – It looks promising and hope it will change our energy dependence on oil.
    @discount codes-online – good summary
    @Martin – I agree, and I think battery technology will continue to be improved on since it is already an established market.

  5. Zack I really hope the powers that be will allow this research to continue. The world has been in great need of an alternate energy source for a long time now. Something a little more “Earth friendly”.

    Certain scientists have been working on free energy sources for many decades, but the billions of dollars it would take away from the big corporations is causing the government to ignore these massive breakthroughs, so very sad it is…

    Great article!

  6. I agree. It said that Daniel Nocera is working very hard to get his artificial leaf invention even cheaper to produce so it can be more reasonable for people to accept.

  7. My main concern is that we might get cocky and continue to cut down forests and believe this might replace them.Sure its good for renewable energies and such Im just worried that we might think:”Gee this does the job better than normal tress so why bother saving our rainforests and woodlands” oh and guys moron is right there are so many technologies availible that can make people and communities self sufficient for example algea oil that can replace all vegetable oils(especially the environmentally destructive palm oil)as well as flour,cotton for clothing and pulps for building materials,provide a cheap animal feed and fertiliser(and even feed for humans)as well as an alternative to traditional fossil fuels for energy and plastics etc(as well as being carbon neutral).Not to mention there is recirculating aquaculture systems that have the ability to rear any species of fish indoors in landlocked areas.Geez havent you guys ever heard of Planned opolis and the other propaganda videos from Forum for the Future.

  8. It’s first time for me to listen like there would be any chance of artificial leaf. Actually I m new comer I think there isn’t anything like that but after all thank you very much to give such information.

  9. Amusement Park, the artificial leaf is new technology straight out of the news. It is not yet available for average people to purchase just yet, but hopefully it will be someday.

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