(10 am – promoted by ek hornbeck)
Looks like we may have a paradigm shift underway. This might be the greatest discovery since making fire.
Google: MIT professor Daniel Nocera and light up! The links are starting to multiply.
August 4, 2008 (Computerworld) Researchers at MIT say they have made an energy storage breakthrough that could transform solar power from an alternative energy source to a mainstream source. The university is calling the solar project a major advancement in energy research.
Sunlight has the greatest potential of any power source to solve the world’s energy problems, Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT and a researcher on the project, said in a statement. In one hour, enough sunlight strikes the Earth to provide the entire planet’s energy needs for one year.
“This is a major discovery with enormous implications for the future prosperity of humankind,” Barber said in a statement. “The importance of their discovery cannot be overstated since it opens up the door for developing new technologies for energy production, thus reducing our dependence for fossil fuels and addressing the global climate change problem.”
Taking a page from photosynthesis in plant life, Nocera and Matthew Kanan, a postdoctoral fellow in Nocera’s lab, came up with a process (see video) to use the energy from the sun to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases, according to a report from MIT. Later, when it’s needed, the gases can be combined inside a fuel cell. That reconnection creates carbon-free electricity that can be used to power an office building, a home or even an electric car – whether the sun is shining or not.
Nocera noted that the process uses natural materials, is inexpensive to conduct and is easy to set up. “That’s why I know this is going to work. It’s so easy to implement,” he said.
“This is the nirvana of what we’ve been talking about for years,” said Nocera. “Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now, we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon.”
It gets way better, too…
From today’s, Tue 5 AUG US News & World:
Oil slipped below $120 at one point today and now overall is down nearly 20 percent from its July high of near $150. But I don’t think the drop had much to do with the usual suspects-a weak consumer spending report, less risk that Tropical Storm Edouard will smack the Gulf Coast-which will surely be mentioned in the financial pages tomorrow.
I think the drop had everything to do with reports this weekend that MIT chemist Daniel Nocera seems to have discovered a cheap-by a factor of 1,000-and easy way to separate hydrogen from water. Scientific American puts the advance in context:
According to John Turner, a research fellow at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo., who was not involved in the research, the discovery could reduce the need for platinum in a conventional electrolyzer. He believes it could also play a role in a future large-scale hydrogen generator, which would collect the energy from sunlight in huge fields and then run that electric current through water to produce vast amounts of hydrogen to meet, for example, the demand from a future fleet of hydrogen-powered vehicles. “That’s what his advance is pointing towards,” he says, “finding an alternative catalyst that will allow us to do oxygen evolution (breaking the bonds of water or H2O and forming oxygen) in concert with hydrogen” on a grand scale.
Bottom line: I think research into alternative energy technology is moving ahead way faster than the Washington politicians realize. (But we still need to exploit oil and coal and nuclear to bridge the gap from a hydrocarbon to post-hydrocarbon economy.) And it is all happening without spending trillions of dollars in taxpayer money for energy-themed Manhattan Projects or Apollo programs. This possible breakthrough came from MIT’s Solar Revolution Project, which was funded to the tune of $10 million by telecommunications entrepreneur Arunas Chesonis. Heroic capitalism strikes again.
Who knew? ;-);-);-)
I think I’ll just microwave some of that there salicornia using the sunlight falling on my roof. They say it tastes like asparagus.