Scientists at MIT have demonstrated the first practical artificial leaf.
This doesn’t mean the oak tree out the front of your house should be worried, these leaves will never hang from a branch. Nor do they look like a leaf, with a silicon cell immersed in a cylinder of bubbling water they are more laboratory ready than they are garden ready.
Instead of simply using the solar cell to produce electricity the cells use a special coating on the silicon, along with the power from the cell to split the water into its hydrogen and oxygen components.
Being able to directly convert water and sunlight into storable gas provides solutions to the biggest problems with solar power, no light no power. At night the gas could be fed to a fuel cell to convert the gases back into electricity and water. The holy grail of renewable power just got one step closer.