Another Artificial Leaf – But Significantly Different

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

We’ve seen several videos like this, a setup resembling a stomach distress remedy fizzing away and giving off bubbles of hydrogen and oxygen.  Dr. Daniel Nocera first created the idea of an artificial leaf, and several others have followed his lead and refined the process, which mimics nature’s leaves in converting sunlight to energy. The U. S. Department of energy’s (DOE’s) Energy Innovation Hub, established at Caltech (California Institute of Technology) and its partnering institutions, has a main goal of creating “a cost-effective method of producing fuels using only sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide.”  Artificial photosynthesis has been tried in several variants, but researchers at Caltech and its Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis (JCAP) now claim to have developed “the first complete, …

Doing More With Much, Much Less

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 1 Comment

This dictum from Paul MacCready that we can do a great deal more with far less material expenditure is well realized in a big way by researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) with their new type of solar cell. Using about two percent of the silicon semiconductor material normally required for crystalline cells, and achieving a high level of energy conversion, the new cells may also be relatively inexpensive to manufacture. As noted by Harry Atwater in Caltech’s press release, “These solar cells have, for the first time, surpassed the conventional light-trapping limit for absorbing materials…” Atwater is Howard Hughes Professor, professor of applied physics and materials science, and director of Caltech’s Resnick Institute, which according to the …