Tata & MIT Work on Breakthrough Way to Generate Power From Ordinary Water

by , 03/24/11

Sun Catalytix, Daniel Nocera, MIT, TATA, alternative energy, power from the sun, water, silicon, renewable energy, grid access, power plant, energy
The Tata Group has signed a deal with the founder of SunCatalytix, MIT scientist Daniel Nocera, who has discovered how to generate energy water. Although the terms of their agreement have not yet been disclosed, this breakthrough technology could bring power to as many as three billion people worldwide. What’s more, Nocera’s technology generates energy more efficiently than solar panels, according to the folks at Fast Company.

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Nocera and his team discovered recently that an artificial cobalt and phosphate coated silicon leaf placed into a jar of water generates power. Similar to photosynthesis, this process splits hydrogen from the two oxygen molecules in water to create power from the sun.

One and a half bottles of water, including wastewater, can power a small house, and a swimming pool filled with water refreshed once a day will generate enough energy to run a plant. Although in preliminary testing stages, Nocera and TATA envision that this technology could improve the standard of living for billions of people. One small caveat from us: often places that are short on electricity are also short on water. Being just 45 days old, the TATA/MIT team still has a ways to go to get this incredible technology off the ground.

Via Fast Company

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  1. C-m Corr-Holmes December 28, 2013 at 12:23 am


  2. Sekhar1 May 29, 2011 at 12:34 am

    Its just one and a half bottle water. And ANY water. So the caveat is not a testing one.
    There will be a lot of opposition from the Oil and Coal lobby.
    Just like the Aero/ Civil aviation opposed the Maglev trains.

  3. drjackson May 24, 2011 at 2:47 am

    Very interesting and beneficial advancement.May it will not fall in the hands of profit mongers or greedy.May it be a blessing for the whole humanity and our precious mother earth.

  4. icarusfactor April 2, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    The water in the Solar Fuel can be used in an open or “closed system”: meaning the same water gets recycled(truly renewable) in seconds after its use. This is the problem with say oil, gas, coal or nuclear is that when you use it up… ITS GONE after burnt and either is classified as garbage ,air pollution or toxic waste and requires a lot of energy to clean it up or reuse it in some manner, further degrading its efficiency.

    With Solar fuel you crack the nut(H2O) with a low voltage solar cell use the far more powerful Hydrogen atoms for power and its exhaust produces H2O exactly what it needs for fuel. But you will need some Hydrogen storage for night time, but is not required if you don’t want a storage source.

    The Hydrogen atom is about as small as you can get its #1 on the periodic table so its smaller a few times lighter than say the lithium atom which is what we use for powering our devices currently and requires a mesh of atoms to make a cell, not so for hydrogen or H2 which is what it produces, two atoms or a million will work the same and Hydrogen can be safely transported as water, which is non toxic and fun for kids to play in.

    Getting this technology to be able to be mass produced will effectively change the power company and oil company as we know it.

  5. xenosilvano April 1, 2011 at 2:26 am

    good luck with that

  6. caeman March 30, 2011 at 8:53 am

    What better way to mitigate rising ocean levels, than the break that water down into energy?

  7. Waynesweeney March 29, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    This article gives me hope, and hope will keep the dream alive.

  8. uber_poutine March 28, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    @ palisade

    Just where do you think that the products of hydrogen combustion are going? Into the ether? Out into space?
    Water vapour doesn’t just disappear m8.

  9. palisade March 28, 2011 at 2:28 am

    Although water is plentiful on the planet, it is still a finite resource. At some point in the distant future, if this technology takes hold, we’ll burn off our oceans. Given what seems like infinite energy; populations will expand more than they already are and they’re already experiencing exponential growth, and people and companies will be more wasteful of energy because they believe it will have no consequences. I’m absolutely not against turning water into hydrogen using the sun, I’ve been arguing for it all my life. However, someone needs to address this problem and recognize it exists.

    It will be too easy for most scientists and the general public to scoff and say the Earth is 70% water we could never possibly use that up. But, given enough time, I think humanity is capable of just about anything. If anything, this should be a temporary solution we use to get us through the next few millenia as we honestly try to find alternatives. Also, do NOT let this guy tell you this is photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a process that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, especially sugars, using the energy from sunlight. It does not tear hydrogen from water in order to consume it in a steam engine as pure energy, there’s a big difference here.

  10. caeman March 24, 2011 at 10:33 am

    While they solve the water problem for the water-lacking areas, if this technology is what is promises, it could help out a lot of other people.

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