MIT makes solar energy breakthrough
Jul 31, 2008 - Christine McConville - McClatchy-Tribune
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
say they've discovered a new way to store solar energy so
that the non-polluting power can heat homes even when the
sun isn't shining.
"This is the nirvana of what we've been talking about
for years," said Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor
of Energy at MIT.
Nocera and Matthew Kanan, an MIT postdoctoral fellow,
made the discovery, which has set the science and clean
energy industries abuzz.
Amid the world's broadening energy crisis, scientists have
been looking to the sun as a possible solution.
According to Nocera, in just one hour enough sunlight strikes
the earth to provide the entire planet's energy needs for
But until now, the sun has been a daytime-only energy source.
Storing extra solar energy for later use has been prohibitively
Nocera and Kanan say they have found a way to use the sun's
energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases.
With this technique, the oxygen and hydrogen may be recombined
inside a fuel cell to create carbon-free electricity, which
may be used to heat a home or light up a building.