Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Solar Breakthrough?

I truly hope this works out:

Until now, solar power has been a daytime-only energy source, because storing extra solar energy for later use is prohibitively expensive and grossly inefficient. With today's announcement, MIT researchers have hit upon a simple, inexpensive, highly efficient process for storing solar energy.

Requiring nothing but abundant, non-toxic natural materials, this discovery could unlock the most potent, carbon-free energy source of all: the sun. "This is the nirvana of what we've been talking about for years," said MIT's Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT and senior author of a paper describing the work in the July 31 issue of Science. "Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon."
Yay MIT! Could we actually be looking at the prospect of powering our homes with solar?
Nocera hopes that within 10 years, homeowners will be able to power their homes in daylight through photovoltaic cells, while using excess solar energy to produce hydrogen and oxygen to power their own household fuel cell. Electricity-by-wire from a central source could be a thing of the past.
Sign me up. I am not what you'd call a big fan of the sun --- I like some of its early work, I appreciate where sun-lovers are coming from, and I certainly recognize and admire the startling breadth of its influences. If this works out, it could turn me into a slobbering fan-boy.

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