Friday, August 7, 2009

MIT Solar Revolution: Potential for photovoltaic produced fuel cell hydrogen and Thermophotovoltaics for conversion of waste heat to electricity

Using a catalyst of cobalt, phosphate and an electrode, professor Daniel Nocera reported in 2008 that he was able to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, which if perfected would allow for the storage of solar power in the form of hydrogen which could be used in a fuel cell.

MIT Video: Daniel Nocera describes new process for storing solar energy

The professor's work is part of the MIT Energy Initiative and was funded by the National Science Foundation and a grant from the Chesonis Family Foundation which helped to launch the MIT Solar Revolution Project.

MIT graduate student, Jing Cheng, is investigating another approach to generating energy: thermophotovoltaic, or TPV cells which use infrared radiation to produce energy. These cells are already in small scale use. The idea is that they would allow industry to capture waste radiated heat and convert it to electricity. The cells that Cheng is developing are intended to cost much less than current TPV cells to manufacture.

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