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Power Plant: One Small Leaf Could Electrify an Entire Home

Power Plant: One Small Leaf Could Electrify an Entire Home

A team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed what it describes as the first practical artificial leaf. The device, made from silicon, electronics and catalysts, is the same size and shape as a playing card, but thinner.

It splits water into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen. These are then stored in a fuel cell and used later to generate electricity. "It's really cool stuff -- they're taking a solar cell and turning it into a battery," Carl Howe, director of anywhere consumer research at the Yankee Group, told TechNewsWorld.

"You can think of this as the first dark solar energy because it'll give you solar energy at night in the form of light," Howe added.

Daniel Nocera, who led the team of scientists that developed the artificial "leaf," was not available for comment at press time.

Placing the artificial leaf it in a single gallon of water in bright sunlight could produce enough electricity to supply a house in developing countries with its daily electricity requirement, Nocera has claimed.

Much research has been conducted on the concept of an artificial leaf. Technically, the first artificial leaf was developed more than 10 years ago by John Turner of the U.S. National Renewable Energy Lab in Boulder, Colo.

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