Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Energy Through a Leaf

I saw the headline -- Energy Through a Leaf -- and just had to get off my surfing wave for at least a few seconds. Then I noticed it was being developed by the military and any reader of some of my posts knows that I consider this good news.

If the military is in the act of innovating clean energy, it will probably get done.  It might not be a pretty or efficient but some of the most powerful technologies started in the military.  The military needs to get off fossil fuels because it is a strategic weakness, and nothing like a lucrative military contract to fuel this drive to find alternatives.

Plus, incubating and supporting clean energy through the military, traditionally a bipartisan hands-off part of the government, hopefully quiets those who live to ridicule government support of renewable projects.

So back to the leaf.  It's not actually a leaf, more like a wafer the size of a playing card that when dipped in water generates electricity, according to Clean Technica.  It does imitate how a plant produces energy (sugar) from sunlight and water, hence the leaf.

The lead Harvard researcher behind the technology, David Nocera, formerly at another not-too-shabby institution known as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, continues to enhance and improve the device. 

In an earlier iteration the water the card dipped into had be purified but now the card can be dipped into dirty water.  The potential applications spark the imagination, and optimism grows.

image: 74211.com

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