BSA Distinguished Lecture

"Creating ‘Personalized’ Solar Energy for Six Billion People"

Presented by Daniel Nocera, MIT

Thursday, September 8, 2011, 4:00 pm — Berkner Hall Auditorium

The capture and storage of solar energy at the individual level -- personalized solar energy -- drives inextricably towards the heart of this energy challenge by addressing the triumvirate of secure, carbon neutral and plentiful energy. The doubling of global energy need by mid-century and tripling by 2100 is driven by 3 billion low-energy users in the non-legacy world and by 3 billion
people yet to inhabit the planet over the next half century. The possibility of generating terawatts of carbon-free energy, and thus providing society with its most direct path to realizing a low GHG future, may be realized by making solar PE available to the 6 billion new energy users by high throughput manufacturing.

This talk will present the creation of new catalysts for the oxygen evolving reaction (OER) and hydrogen evolving reaction (HER) that capture many of the functional elements of photosynthesis; these catalysts are then integrated to make the first artificial leaf. A movie will be shown of an OER/Si/HER wafer (no wires!) that sits in a glass of water and performs water splitting under one sun irradiation. It is indeed a leaf. The discovery sets a new paradigm for the direct production of solar fuels. In doing so, we provide a highly manufacturable and inexpensive method to effect a carbon-neutral and
sustainable method for solar storage solar fuels from water-splitting. By developing an inexpensive 24/7 solar energy system for the individual, a carbon-neutral energy supply for 1 × 6 billion becomes available.

Hosted by: Peter Wanderer

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