Can you imagine a future in which you no longer need to waste energy while swatting away mosquitoes and flies? and you could, in fact, SAVE energy instead? without even raising an arm to swat. Check out Discover’s cleverly titled blog “Time (Eats) Flies” that describes a clock that runs on bugs. Are there many places in the world with bug infestations near where you normally keep your clock? How about bug-powered lamps? How great would it be to have bug-powered street lamps in your neighborhood that keep your loved ones safe from dengue fever, or the West Nile virus, or malaria?
Daniel Nocera, Ph.D. (from MIT, naturally), recently announced that he and his research team have developed the first “practical” artificial leaf. Most people are putting the quotation marks around the “artificial leaf,” but, really, it’s the “practical” part that is the point, since the first “actual” artificial leaf was developed by a clever fellow at NREL over a decade ago. This new artificial leaf is pretty super though. For a device that’s about the size of a poker card, it can [hypothetically] produce a day’s worth of electricity for a house in a developing country! Granted, I can’t imagine how much electricity a house in the developing world would actually need, compared to, say, Al Gore’s new villa, or even the average American home, but let’s stay positive here! The average American will just have to buy a couple more leaves and use an extra gallon or two of water.
An invention that’s even more glee-inducing than Nocera’s artifical leaf but not yet “practical”? Ecopreneurist Orlin Velev’s bite-sized, flexible, and NON-TOXIC solar cell that is made of light-sensitive molecules, including chlorophyll.
India’s Tata Group plans on adopting artificial leaf technology for a new power plant to be built in the next year or so!