Photosynthesis is how plants convert energy from the ball of fire in the sky into useful plant-growing energy. The USA’s Department of Energy is actually looking into how photosynthesis can be used to power our homes and even turn homes into miniature power stations using the power of nature.
According to Nocera, his new system can work at ambient temperatures and pressures, without corrosion in a simple glass of water, even polluted water. “If you need pure water for energy storage, they’ll drink it,” Nocera said. “Use puddle water instead.” In fact, Nocera has been running his prototype on untreated water from the Charles River in Boston. And it’s cheap, not $12,000 per kilowatt like commercial electrolyzers that do the same thing. “That’s not going to help the energy situation for the U.S. or poor people of the world.”
Using the electricity generated by a photovoltaic array five meters by six meters, Nocera claims he can split enough water in less than four hours “to store enough energy for the average American home” for a day, a little more than 30 kilowatt-hours. “We need to stop making big energy systems one a time to service lots of people. We need to do it the old American way of making one small one and then manufacturing that system to give it to the masses.”