Tata invests in power-from-water project

When Tata gets into something you know what’s coming. Something cheap and affordable for the bottom of the pyramid. Tata turned the auto industry upside down with its cheapest car, the Nano. Tata Nano is just not an affordable car but it’s a car without competition. For someone to break that price barrier, it’s not easy. Maybe that’s the reason why three different car manufacturers have come together to put together a Nano competitor. What is Tata doing to solve world’s energy problems?

Tata group is investing in a novel technology being developed out of MIT. The research project of MIT scientist Daniel Nocera has gained Ratan Tata’s attention and Tata made an investment in the research to commercialize the product. The research is to produce energy from water. Nothing new with it, but Nocera’s solution produces it cheaply and will produce the energy from any kind of water not just clean water. Or as Nocera puts it :

Nocera’s solution can use even human waste water, “from the front and back”, as he put it euphemistically.

A glass and half of water could power entire home. A swimming pool full of water could possibly power the entire planet for one day. Nocera will be ready with a prototype in an year and half. And if this comes through, every home across the world could be its own power plant.

As a breakthrough, Nocera’s team had created an artificial leaf which can create power from water following the process of photosynthesis. The leaf was made of cobalt-and-phosphate coated silicon. The power produced from the leaf has an efficiency which surpasses many solar panels out there.

Even if a swimming pool full of water would not power world’s energy demands, the technology sounds very promising. Tata’s thought of providing power to three billion people, is commendable. Given Tata’s track record, it might well pull it off.

Source : FastCompany