Just a couple months ago Wilson Smith from SOFI member institution TU Delft gave a fantastic TEDTalk about creating solar fuels from artificial photosynthesis.

The video is only 5 minutes, and well worth watching. Here are 5 key takeaways:

1. I don’t have to tell you that we need to kick our dirty fossil fuel habit. The sun is the only source of clean, renewable energy that is abundant and available enough to power the whole world.

2. The key challenge with solar energy is storage – what do we do when the sun isn’t shining? Solar fuels take care of that problem by storing solar energy in the form of fuel.

3. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel to create solar fuels; we can use artificial photosynthesis. Plants have been converting sun to energy for billions of years. Every time you eat a plant, you’re using solar energy to power yourself!

4. In order to make solar energy available to everyone, we need to make it affordable by using cheap materials and cheap processes. For this reason, Smith’s group focuses on silicon-based devices.

5. Smith’s group has created a device that stores sunlight in the form of hydrogen, and are currently working on moving this technology from the lab to a larger, commercial scale.

Please check out the video for more details on the device Smith and his team created at TU Delft. We can’t wait to see how their terrific work will shape our energy future!