Why has it taken so long for mankind to figure this out? Energy surges in every living thing on the planet. Some more than others. Plants on the earth as a whole generate an estimated 130 terrawatts annually. and consume between 100 to 115 Petagrams of carbon a year. Thats 100,000,000,000,000,000 grams of carbon. O.o. In other words, you could power the projected world consumption of electricity in 2030 by 6 times over. So why wouldn’t we look to the plants for answers? Well it just so happens that we may have finally pulled our heads out or at least someone at MIT has 😛 Danial Nocera at MIT and his team have found a way to develop thin playing card shaped solar cells that are made of silicon and several other catalytic materials bonded to each side. One of these materials is a cheap replacement for what makes traditional solar cells so expensive; Platinum. If you’re married you’ve probably seen the cost difference between a platinum wedding band and a gold band. It’s a very precious metal and extremely expensive. Now this team at MIT has discovered they can replace the platinum catalyst with a nickel-molybdenum-zinc compound that is comprised of very inexpensive materials. And that’s not the best part! The solar cells operate differently than any solar cell I’ve ever heard of. They don’t generate electricity directly at all. The most amazing part is they act like an electrode in a hydrogen fuel cell. When placed in a clear container and set in the sunlight, these magic playing cards actually turn the water white with hydrogen bubbles. MIT has effectively recreated the artificial leaves! Photosynthesis works the exact same way. But instead of converting the hydrogen and oxygen into sugars, we can use the hydrogen to fuel our cars or fuel power plants. Again this is another tech that’s absolutely amazing. Give it 5 years to get to market and we may be living in a hydrogen sun powered world with no emissions at all. What’s nice about this hydrogen is that most automobiles can be converted to run on hydrogen with very little modification. I can see a hydrogen solar cell feeding a torch that’s running a Sterling engine already 😛 So many ideas.
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