In Washington, the American Chemical Society reports that a detailed description of development of the first practical artificial leaf appears in the ACS journal Accounts of Chemical Research. The article notes that unlike earlier devices, which used costly ingredients, the new device is made from inexpensive materials and employs low-cost engineering and manufacturing processes.
To make these devices more widely available, Nocera replaced the platinum catalyst that produces hydrogen gas with a less-expensive nickel-molybdenum-zinc compound. On the other side of the leaf, a cobalt film generates oxygen gas. Nocera notes that all of these materials are abundant on Earth, unlike the rare and expensive platinum, noble metal oxides and semiconducting materials others have used.
More background on the story from the Digest