EcoAlert: MIT Lab Creates Artificial Leaf that can Turn Sunlight and Water into Energy

File-Leaf detail Researchers at MIT have developed an artificial leaf that can turn sunlight and water into energy as efficiently as the real thing. The artificial leaf, which looks nothing like the natural leaf, is made of silicon, electronics, and various catalysts that spur chemical reactions within the device.

The artificial leaf uses sunlight to break water into hydrogen and oxygen which can then be used to create electricity in a separate fuel cell. Placed in a gallon of water and left in the sun, these artificial leaves could provide a home in the developing world with basic electricity for a day.


Scaled and mass produced, something like the lab’s leaf could be the key component to shifting toward a hydrogen-based economy. In the nearer term, the technology could at the very least power parts of the globe that are currently off the grid with clean, plentiful, and easy-to-come-by energy.

The Daily Galaxy via Eurekalert

Get Your Daily Dose of Awe @'The Daily Galaxy' in Your Facebook News Feed

"The Galaxy" in Your Inbox, Free, Daily