MIT chemist Daniel Nocera claims that with just one bottle of drinking water and four hours of sunlight, he can generate 30 KWh of electricity, being enough to power an entire home. This process consists in a a cobalt-based catalyst that uses solar energy to split water and produce hydrogen.
Using the electric energy obtained from a 30-square-meter photovoltaic array, Nocera’s catalyst converts carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and hydrogen. The process is just like photosynthesis, where plants generate energy in the form of sugars instead of hydrogen.
This hydrogen produced through artificial photosynthesis can be converted directly into liquid fuel or recombined with oxygen in a fuel cell. Nocera’s start-up company, Sun Catalytix, will soon make the system affordable enough to allow individual houses to produce their own fuel and electric energy on-site. The problem of hydrogen transportation could be solved if the hydrogen production would be distributed this way.
“If I could store the sun in terms of a fuel, then at night when the sun goes down I can use the sun, effectively,” Nocera said in a company video. “What we’ve done is that we’ve made sunlight available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
To know more about this process, you may watch the following video: