World's first artificial leaf developed




Scientists have created the world’s first practical artificial leaf that can turn sunlight and water into energy, which they claim could pave the way for a cheaper source of power in developing countries like India. The innovation has been made by the team led by Daniel Nocera at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The artificial leaf which performs activity resembling photosynthesis and produces energy is regarded as a successful alternative form of energy for the future. The so called artificial leaf is a small visiting card size solar cell which uses solar energy to generate electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

                  Though in laboratory, an artificial leaf prototype could operate continuously for at least 45 hours without a drop in activity, the scientists say that they will next try to boost both efficiency and lifespan of their photosynthetic material.
                  The device bears no resemblance to Mother Nature's counterparts on oaks, maples and other green plants, which scientists have used as the model for their efforts to develop this new genre of solar cells. About the shape of a poker card but thinner, the device is fashioned from silicon, electronics and catalysts, substances that accelerate chemical reactions that otherwise would not occur, or would run slowly. Placed in a single gallon of water in a bright sunlight, the device could produce enough electricity to supply a house in a developing country with electricity for a day, Nocera said. It does so by splitting water into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen and oxygen gases would be stored in a fuel cell, which uses those two materials to produce electricity, located either on top of the house or beside it.

                 Glad news for India is that Tata has already signed the team for developing a mini-power plant based on his technology.