Leaves photosynthesize naturally but MIT scientists have developed an artificial leaf that is able to photosynthesize to produce energy for powering up devices. Think of a leaf about the size of a playing card at your home capable of producing energy. Sounds great, right? That is what the cost effective solar cell is all about. It functions like a leaf and is aimed at meeting the energy needs of individual homes. Dr. Daniel Nocera, a lead researcher of the project states “A practical artificial leaf has been one of the Holy Grails of science for decades.”
The artificial leaf in presence of sunlight and water, is capable of splitting up water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The gases are then stored in a fuel cell which eventually provides the required electricity. During its early stages of development, the catalysts used for the above reaction were rather expensive but Dr. Nocera’s uses elements like nickel and cobalt, making the procedure an affordable choice for mass adoption. As a renewable energy option the artificial leaf looks promising and with the current model being able to provide energy constantly for 45 hours, we hope it makes its way into every household soon.