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?