Tag Archives: environment

Faux-tosynthesis: The Artificial Leaf that Could Power Your Home

From Ben Jervey at Good magazine.  Check out the entire article here.

Call it faux-tosynthesis. An MIT research team lead by Daniel Nocera revealed this week an “artificial leaf” that uses the sun’s rays to produce energy. Developing an energy source modeled on photosynthesis like this has long been a goal of energy science.

The basic science sounds simple enough: The sun’s rays split water into hydrogen and oxygen, which can then be recombined in a fuel cell. When they are recombined, energy is created.

But constructing these artificial leaves out of stable materials that have reasonably long lifespans and aren’t prohibitively expensive has been an obstacle. The challenge, in other words, is making this faux-tosynthesis practical.

Their new leaf utilizes relatively abundant and inexpensive materials—nickel and cobalt—for its catalysts.

The leaf itself is described as about the size of a playing card, and in laboratory conditions, it’s proven to generate power continuously for 45 hours without a drop in performance. In theory, with one such leaf and a gallon of water, a typical house could be powered for a day.

Here’s an old Department of Energy video with Nocera about how the process works.


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Hair Sausages and Transvestites

Want to help with the oil spill clean-up efforts?  Donate your hair and pantyhose to create booms, or, head down to the Gulf and help make the booms yourself!  Transvestites and hair salons in California are doing their part!

These booms are a more natural alternative than booms made of plastic.  The animal and human hair combo soak up the oil that’s floating in the Gulf.

Go to matteroftrust.org to learn how to donate.

Listen to the NPR story, “Sopping Up an Oil Slick with Castaway Hair,” by Alexis Diao.

Oil containment booms are made from donated hair stuffed into nylons. http://www.matteroftrust.org

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