Within 10 years, homeowners could power their homes in daylight with solar photovoltaic cells, while using excess solar energy to produce hydrogen and oxygen from water to power a household fuel cell. If the new process developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology finds acceptance in the marketplace, electricity-by-wire from a central source could be a thing of the past.
“This is the nirvana of what we’ve been talking about for years,” said MIT’s Daniel Nocera, senior author of a paper describing the simple, inexpensive, and efficient process for storing solar energy in the July 31 issue of the journal “Science.”
“Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon,” Nocera said.
Until now, solar power has been a daytime-only energy source, because storing extra solar energy for later use is expensive and inefficient. But Nocera and his team of researchers have hit upon an elegant solution.