Major discovery could someday use solar energy to turn water into hydrogen

Isn't science wonderful? The day after I bashed fuel cell tech for being impractical, MIT scientists break the news of a major discovery that might change everything. In what’s being called a “revolutionary leap,” MIT chemistry professor Daniel Nocera and his team of researchers have figured out how to use solar energy to separate hydrogen and oxygen in water, in a unique process that can be done at room temperature and pressure, without using any exotic materials.

This could be an easy route to artificial photosynthesis, someday producing hydrogen for clean, cheap power. The goal is to use the technology in homes within ten years, where solar energy could be used during the day to power this atom-splitting, and then the resulting hydrogen could be used at night to run a fuel cell to generate electricity. That hydrogen could also be used for fuel cells in cars.

Looks great, but so far, the system is using electrical power from an outlet rather than solar energy, still needs an expensive platinum electrode to make the hydrogen from hydrogen ions, and the oxygen is created too slowly. However, Nocera says this is so easy to set up, the problems should be solved quickly. See him in this video. This could change the world. Hurry this up, guys — prove me wrong.

Via Popular Mechanics, Technology Review, and MIT