MIT spin-off stores solar energy

I’ve written a couple of articles about Daniel Nocera before (see the links at the bottom of this article), and there’s some more news out.   Daniel Nocera is an MIT professor who has developed a catalyst that can easily split water into hydrogen and oxygen and wants to use it to store solar energy.    Earlier this year, Nocera formed Sun Catalytix in order to commercialize  his process and make energy generation cheap and distributed. The concept works like this – solar panels on a house would help power the house during the day.   And while the panels are creating electricity, a portion of the energy created by the solar panels would be used with Norcera’s cobalt phosphate catalyst to split water into hydrogen and oxygen for storage.   At night, the stored hydrogen would be used in a fuel cell to generate electricity.  Nocera calculates that an average house could generate enough hydrogen from three liters of water a day to take care of its energy needs. Nocera wants to have a totally working kilowatt sized system within two years.   However, commercialization is still some time away since the system needs multiple components like hydrogen storage tanks, cheaper solar energy panels, and cheaper fuel cells.     He feels that all of these components are obtainable.  For example, regarding fuel cells, he says, “I don’t need a fuel cell that’s in a Toyota or Honda car. I need all the technology they threw away 20 years ago because they couldn’t get high enough power density for a car.” Here’s the links to previous articles on Professor Nocera: Science Daily: MIT researchers develop new way to store solar power NY Times interview with Danel Nocera – Professor of Energy at MIT

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