Reports of new developments in the area of solar power are an almost daily event here at Gizmag. The main focus of research seems to be on improving the efficiency of solar cells, but others are working at developing an inexpensive method of locally storing the energy generated by solar systems. Because society relies on a continuous energy supply and solar energy is diurnal, storage systems are integral to what some see as an inevitable move towards the era of “personalized solar energy”, in which the focus of electricity production shifts from huge central generating stations to individuals in their own homes and communities.
A new paper by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) professor Daniel Nocera describes the development of a practical, inexpensive storage system for achieving personalized solar energy. At its heart is an innovative catalyst that splits water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen that become fuel for producing electricity in a fuel cell. The new oxygen-evolving catalyst works like photosynthesis, the method plants use to make energy, producing clean energy from sunlight and water.
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