Daniel G. Nocera is a Harvard energy innovator and chemist. This man is on a mission of “renewable” energy. He invented artificial leaf and co-created bionic version; he now plans to launch a set of technologies here with a strong assertion that “renewable energy revolution will take place” in India.
In an interview with IANS, Nocera told, “I have no doubt about it. The revolution in renewable energy will happen in India. When you look at places in the developed world like the US, you are looking backwards, meaning that’s what it used to be like (coal, oil and gas) and the emerging countries have a decision to take: Do they want to build something looking back or do they want to do something different.”
Nocera, is currently the ‘Patterson Rockwood’ Professor of Energy in Dept. of Chemical Biology and Chemistry at Harvard University. He invented the much-appreciated artificial leaf by using solar power to fragment water and make hydrogen (H2) fuel.
To solve the problem of using and storing Hydrogen, he and his dedicated team of workers have taken a step ahead with the bionic leaf by making liquid fuel.
What this bionic leaf does is it turns sunlight (solar power) into liquid fuel. It uses solar energy to fragment/split water molecules (H2O) and hydrogen-eating bacteria to create the fuel. When compared to natural photosynthesis, this system churns 10 times more energy. Nocera had teamed up with Pamela Silver of ‘Harvard Medical School’ for the bionic leaf.
Now, Nocera, 59, plans to set up a collaboration with the ‘Institute of Chemical Technology’ (ICT) located in Mumbai. To move this technology further, he plans to supply some of the engineered bacteria and science to the very capable hands of the scientist of the institute.
He asserted, “I want to start anything that goes for the commercialization of the bionic leaf, for instance. I want do it in India. I am not doing it with American companies. Because ICT has such great chemical engineers I am hoping we can do it. I want to start a pilot project. We already have a MoU in place (Harvard with ICT) but we haven’t worked out the details of the project. We will do it now.”
Nocera explained that anybody can have bionic leaf. All you need is sunlight with any water resource. It needn’t be pure. You can use dirty water and sunlight to distribute fuel production. He said it would be helpful for the poor. He is hopeful to achieve it in India. “Everybody in India also wants his economy to grow. So do I put in a whole new infrastructure for renewable energy or do I just keep using fossil fuels to keep the economy growing,” he said.