World’s first self-healing artificial leaf extracts energy from gray water

self-healing artificial leaf

Developed by a team of researchers, led by Daniel G. Nocera, the “artificial leaf” is an innovative device that can produce energy from dirty water with the help of particularly developed catalysts capable of healing themselves. Claimed to be the world’s first practical “artificial leaf,” the sustainable device is capable of producing energy from sunlight and water like real, natural leaves. Though, it doesn’t rely on photosynthesis, like its real counterparts, for producing energy.

Essentially a simple wafer of silicon encrusted in a catalyst, the artificial leaf takes apart water into its hydrogen and oxygen elements, as soon as you put it into a water pot and expose it to the daylight. Once exposed to the sunlight, the hydrogen and oxygen gases bubble up through the water, which can further be employed as fuel to generate electricity in fuel cells.

Presented at a conference of the American Chemical Society, the self-healing leaf promises to provide electricity for the people living in developing countries and remote areas. Made using economical materials, the artificial leaf features a simple “buried junction” design to cut the cost of the device for mass production. Moreover, the artificial leaf uses under one liter of to generate approximately 100 watts of electricity throughout the day.

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