Sizzling hot revolution

“The greatest invention since the steam engine!” says my husband, while MIT is more modest and calls it a ‘major discovery’. What is this major breakthrough? Storing solar power on a large scale for when the sun is not shining.

You see, not being able to store solar power has always been a barrier to utilizing the sun as a natural source of energy. But now, researchers from MIT, headed by Daniel Nocera, Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT, have come up with a simple, not too costly and very efficient way of actually storing solar energy.

Apparently, Nocera and another guy called Matthew Kanan were inspired by the photosynthesis of plants. They have developed a radical new process that will allow the sun’s energy to be used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases. The oxygen and hydrogen can then be recombined later on inside a fuel cell. Result? Carbon-free electricity to power your house or your electric car, day or night!

This, my dear readers, is astounding news! Everyone should be shouting it from the rooftops! It’s a giant leap towards producing clean, carbon-free energy on a massive scale. It’s a vital step towards breaking our dependence on fossil fuels.

Just imagine – in ten years’ time – in OUR OWN lifetimes – we may very well witness the solution to the energy crisis (and a significant step towards reducing global warming).

Yes – we may very well see an era where fossil fuels become … well, fossils!

6 thoughts on “Sizzling hot revolution

  1. The only thing I don’t understand is why this amazing news hasn’t been on the front page of every newspaper in the world.

    Maybe this planet isn’t doomed after all, so why isn’t everybody celebrating its salvation?

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  2. This is indeed interesting. The only problem is that fuel cells are currently very expensive. And don’t have a terribly long lifetime. Otherwise it sounds smashing.

    Another excellent idea is to use CO2 as a fuel, by using concentrated sunlight to convert it into CO and then back into hydrocarbons. In effect, taking the evil gas and turning it back into something we can burn. This is in prototype stage right now.

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  3. Newspapers don’t major in printing good news! They like to focus on the doom and gloom stories, and the terrible things that happen in the world. I am sure there are a lot of hard working people out there working out new technologies for us to benefit from.

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  4. What is so good about this new breakthrough is that it leads the way towards actually being able to STORE sunlight in an easier process that can later on be mass-produced. The article guesses that the technology will be available and affordable in TEN years’ time. I guess that means that if enough money and effort is pumped into it, then the price of fuel cells will come down too. A lot can happen in ten years!

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  5. I have been looking at this and I must admit that I am underwhelmed. What these people seem to have done is come up with a more effective method of electrolysis, that is, splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen with electricity. This is no “breakthrough” – the idea of storing electricity using stored hydrogen from electrolysis is very old indeed.

    And the process still depends on fuel cells, which use expensive metals and have also been around for years. Plus it requires an entire new energy infrastructure, which is very unlikely to happen, and, if it does, will be expensive and require huge amounts of resources.

    All in all, this is nice idea, but not at all a new one, and is still way off on the fringes of energy research. And not exactly a breakthrough.,

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  6. Oh dear! You’ve burst my little bubble! Re. having to have a new energy infrastructure: I believe that this will be necessary in the future anyway, when fossil fuels run out.. Alternative energy sources require an alternative infrastructure and that can only be a good thing! The paradigm shift will be difficult – and I can imagine a lot of big cats in the industry being against it because it will ruin their profits – but if we don’t adapt, the planet will die.

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