In the last month, MIT researchers released a report claiming that they’ve found a new, cost-effective way to store energy from solar electric systems. Essentially, they used electricity produced from photovoltaic panels to split water, separating the hydrogen and oxygen gases to be stored for later use. According to MIT professor Daniel Nocera, one of the researchers on the project, splitting water has been done before. What makes his system so radical is the catalyst used to ignite the process: cobalt phosphate.
Other catalysts used are not widely abundant. Therefore, past processes have been expensive and required too much for land and materials to produce catalysts. Nocera and his colleagues’ discovery is significant, but still young and unproven. Another advantage of their cobalt phosphate catalyst is that it can operate in plain water at atmospheric pressure. This means it could logically work well with any residential solar electric system. (more…)
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