Artificial Leaves Can Be The Most Efficient Source Of Green Energy To Date

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When we think about it, plants and trees are the original form of solar cells in the world. The transform the sun’s rays into energy by a process known as photosynthesis.  Scientists at the Monash University in Melbourne, Australia have come up with a device that mimics this process artificially. It can become one of the most efficient and clean source of renewable energy in the world.

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In a study published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science, the research team explains how their artificial photosynthesis machine uses electro-chemical water splitting, using commercially produced solar cells to generate hydrogen and oxygen by passing an electrical current through water. This process creates hydrogen fuel, a clean form of energy, and there are zero carbon emissions to contribute to global warming.

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Until the development of these “artificial leaves”, the record for the most energy efficient solar panel was at 18%. Plants can convert roughly one or two percent into energy. This device can transform 22%. Professor Doug MacFarlane and his team are not satisfied with this result and aim to raise its efficiency to 30%.

He also admits that this technology won’t be available on the market very soon but he hopes that one day every home would be outfitted with such a device in the basement or inside the walls and capable of replicating the natural process native to plants, photosynthesis.

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