Based on researches conducted in Monash University School of Chemistry, Victoria, Australia, artificial leaves may soon become the source of energy of our cars, houses and even the entire cities.
How will this work? According to Professor Doug MacFarlane, head of the research team, they have designed a machine based on the process that turns sunlight into energy in plants – photosynthesis. Using hydrogen as a fuel source, the good professor is convinced that nothing is more perfect than a natural process.
In previous research conducted by his team, they used rare and expensive materials as artificial catalysts. Due to the high costs, they used nickel instead and succeeded. They also managed to extract hydrogen from water, which is free of charge. However, the devices using that energy are still very costly to construct and maintain.
The research has shown promising results that Professor Thomas Faunce, from the Australian National University, has already held two global conferences about the subject. The first test showed 18 percent efficiency, and the number has now increased to 22.4 percent. Only 10 percent more efficiency is needed before the innovation is introduced to the public. It will first be used in houses and will switch to fuel stations after a couple years.
This technology, if mastered, will surely help us cope with global problems such as climate change. If we can convert all man-made structures in structures that use this technology, we can have distributed fuel across planet Earth.