Researchers led by MIT professor Daniel Nocera have announced the creation of “artificial leaves” that can convert the energy of sunlight directly into a chemical fuel that can be stored and used later as an energy source. The leaf uses abundant material and could prove a breakthrough in the search for new fuel systems.
The artificial leaf is a a silicon solar cell with different catalytic materials bonded onto its two sides. If you simply place the leaf in water, it generate streams of oxygen bubbles from one side and hydrogen bubbles from the other. No wires or control circuits needed.
It is perfect timing to watch the silicon leaves falling from the trees around MIT with the arrival of autumn.
Source: Science Blog