Also in conjunction with it’s Energy Innovation Summit, ARPA-E is promoting a new, brief video about the photosynthesis/photocatalysis energy storage ideas of MIT’s Daniel Nocera and his company, Sun Catalytix. Nocera has received $4 million form ARPA-E to continue the development of his prototypes.
Nocera’s catalyst consists of cobalt metal, phosphate and an anode, placed in water. When electricity from a photovoltaic cell is run through the catalyst, the cobalt and phosphate form a thin film on the electrode’s surface, creating oxygen gas. When combined with a cathode capable of producing hydrogen gas from water, the two electrodes create a system that mimics the way plants use sunlight to split water and create energy during photosynthesis. This catalyst works at room temperature
For more information on Nocera’s work see: