The MIT news office yesterday announced the discovery of a new way to store solar energy, overcoming the limitations that have until now limited its use.
MIT’s Daniel Nocera, Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT and senior author of a paper describing the work in the July 31 issue of Science, calls this the “nirvana of what we’ve been working on for years.” Nocera foresees homeowners powering their homes in daylight with photovoltaic cells in just ten years, the same time span generally cited by oil producers for bringing new oil production online.
To one not adept at understanding the chemistry and physics of the MIT development, it was enough to absorb the excitement inherent in the news release. In simple terms, it put the discovery in perspective:
In one hour, enough sunlight strikes the Earth to provide the entire planet’s energy needs for one year.