Can a Tree Leaf be a Source of Alternative Energy?

A catalytic approach to splitting oxygen and hydrogen

MIT scientists have discovered a wild new method of storing energy, one that could become an alternative energy breakthrough. Dr. Daniel Nocera and his team have uncovered a catalytic approach to splitting oxygen and hydrogen, that’s far more efficient than electrolysis, and an approach that mimics photosynthesis. The new process still calls for a regular photovoltaic system and a fuel cell—but it leverages a bold new way of storing free electricity.

The bold new technology far outperforms ordinary ways of generating power. Current methods of storing excess energy via batteries are quite expensive. Some estimates predict that the new catalyst can break water at more than 10 times the efficiency of older hydrolysis methods, which is a huge leap ahead. The new technology can even out the load and set aside the electricity output of these generators until it is needed.

What this means is that we can run our wind generators 24/7, or as long as the wind blows. Even when the wind dies down or stops, we’ll still have power. Power from photovoltaic sources to use at night or on cloudy days. Best of all, this is just one part of the overall solution. So congrats to the Nocera team for developing this vital energy storage solution, a leap forward in sustainable and uninterrupted power.



Alex A. Kecskes has written hundreds of film reviews and celebrity interviews for a wide variety of online and print outlets. He has covered red carpet premieres and Comic-Con events for major films and independent releases.