Unlike Earth, Mars is sorely lacking in the energy department. While future Martian cities may eventually be powered by algae, solar steam or even geothermal power plants, colonists are going to need an energy source for their offworld outposts.
Fortunately it looks like researches may have discovered a solution that could make living upon Mars a reality:
Emory University chemists have developed the most potent homogeneous catalyst known for water oxidation, considered a crucial component for generating clean hydrogen fuel using only water and sunlight. The breakthrough, to be published in "Science" and released online by the journal March 11, was made in collaboration with the Paris Institute of Molecular Chemistry. [...]
The long-term goal is to use sunlight to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. Hydrogen becomes the fuel. Its combustion produces the by-product of water – which flows back into a clean, green, renewable cycle.
Since Mars receives approximately half of the sunlight as Earth does, future colonists may have to look towards a temporary chemical solution rather than an innovative solar panel (like solar rods).
Although this innovative technology is far from perfect (as there are still major hurdles to overcome), it could pave the way for not only green energy on Earth, but help "jump start" colonies on Mars too.
(Image: Bubbles form during water oxidation, catalyzed by the new tetra-cobalt water oxidation catalyst. Credit: Benjamin Yin)
(via Mars News)
This post originally appeared on Colony Worlds.