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Solar-Power Breakthrough

A major advance has been made by researchers in inorganic chemistry that could help in finding a cheap option for storing the energy from the sun, as they have found solution for one of the main problems in developing solar energy a dominant source of electricity.

Daniel Nocera, who is a professor of Chemistry at MIT, has made a catalyst capable of producing Oxygen from a glass of water by breaking water molecules.

The new development, which can be easily made, could be used to produce large amounts of hydrogen by making use of sunlight. The hydrogen can then be used for the generation of electricity by buring it or running it through a fuel cell.

The use of solar power is limited by the fact that the solar cells can only give their peak output for a limited period each day. The solution of making use of sunlight to break water molecules, storing solar energy as hydrogen, has not been practical due to the requirement of too much energy for the reactions, and the high cost of suitable catalysts. However, with Nocera’s catalyst, the way for a cheap water-splitting technology becomes clear.

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