UW students create bracelet that monitors intoxication levels .

At the recent Microsoft Research Design Expo, five students from the University of Washington won Best Product Concept for their Vive bracelet.

The concept is to create a bracelet designed to monitor how much alcohol an individual has consumed and notify friends when the wearer has had too much. The bracelet itself contains sensors that periodically check alcohol levels and degree of dehydration.

When the wearer starts drinking, the bracelet will vibrate periodically to make sure the user is still aware and in control. If the wearer is able to squeeze the bracelet, then the program is notified that he or she is still in control. However, if the wearer is unable to squeeze the bracelet, Vive sends a notification to the user’s group alerting them that their friend may be in trouble.

Vive bracelet (Screenshot from http://iamdandoan.com/)

Vive groups are connected to each other with the Vive Smartphone app. Users are instructed to tap their bracelets together, which will immediately send a friend request to the Vive Smartphone app. Once the requests have been sent and approved, each bracelet’s Bluetooth programming will sync with the rest of the group.

The overall mission of the Vive system is actually centered around preventing sexual assault.

The designers say that the idea for Vive came after a conversation with the Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Activist (SARVA) at the University of Washington. The students discovered that alcohol is the number one choice for individuals seeking to commit rape or sexual assault.

The designers think that the Vive bracelets could be part of the solution by helping to create a better system of accountability and intervention within friend groups.

While a fully functioning prototype has yet to be released, the designers hope that their win at the Microsoft summit could fuel the rest of their research and development.

Anthrax could deliver the cancer drugs of the future

Chemists have modified the anthrax bacteria and discovered that, when it’s not being deadly, it’s a ground-breakingly efficient drug carrier.


Anthrax, a potentially fatal disease caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacterium, infamous for being used as a biological weapon inside letters in 2001, is back – but scientists have now managed to turn it into a non-toxic, efficient drug delivery platform.

“Anthrax toxin is a professional at delivering large enzymes into cells,” Bradley Pentelute, a chemist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US and senior author of the paper,told Anne Trafton for an MIT story on the discovery. “We wondered if we could render anthrax toxin nontoxic, and use it as a platform to deliver antibody drugs into cells.”

Now the scientists have successfully shown that they can do just that, and their research is published in ChemBioChem.

In the study, Pentelute and his team showed that they could use a “disarmed” version of the anthrax toxin to deliver two cancer-killing proteins known as antibody mimics into cells. These antibody mimics are important because they disrupt specific proteins inside cancer cells and are therefore capable of destroying them, but until now scientists haven’t been able to work out how to get them into cells.

This is the first demonstration of an effective antibody mimic delivery system, and it could allow research to develop new drugs for cancer and a range of other diseases, Pentelute explains in the MIT release.

Antibodies are proteins that are produced by our immune system to bind to pathogens, and in recent decades, scientists have designed their own antibodies that can disrupt proteins such as the HER2 receptor found on the surface of some cancer cells. Researchers have already developed a drug designed to bind to the HER2 receptor, called Herceptin, and it’s being successfully used to treat breast cancer tumours.

But the big hurdle in antibody drug research is that many of the potential drug targets are inside the cell – and scientists haven’t worked out how to get the antibody drugs there, until now.

The MIT team managed to successfully target several proteins inside cancer cells, including Bcr-Abl, which causes chronic myeloid leukaemia. The cancer cells that had the antibody mimics injected into them by the anthrax toxin underwent programmed cell suicide.

The researchers also managed to use anthrax to block a protein called hRAf-1 that’s overactive in many cancers.

“This work represents a prominent advance in the drug-delivery field,” Jennifer Cochran, a bioengineer at Stanford University in the US who wasn’t involved in the study, told Trafton for MIT. “Given the efficient protein delivery Pentelute and colleagues achieved with this technology compared to a traditional cell-penetrating peptide, studies to translate these findings to in vivo disease models will be highly anticipated.”

The MIT researchers are now testing the anthrax delivery method in mice and investigating ways they can target particular cell types.

A biotech student has worked out how to turn wine waste into biofuels

Wine just got even better – an Australian student has found a way to break down winery byproducts into compounds that can be used to create biofuels and medicines.


Millions of tonnes of grapes are turned into wine each year, but more than half of the crushed grapes end up being wasted. They don’t have enough nutritional value to be fed to animals and can’t be used as compost because they don’t degrade, so the majority become toxic landfill.

But now a PhD student from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia has found a way to use fungi to break this wine waste down into compounds that can be used to create ethanol or other biofuels.

“Various fungi are known to degrade this waste by generating an array of enzymes,” said Avinash Karpe, a PhD student with Swinburne’s Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, in a press release. “These enzymes convert the waste to soluble sugars which can then be converted into other products.”

By first heating the winery waste for half an hour, Karpe was able to use a “cocktail” of four fungi to break down the biomass, a process that took one to three weeks in a bioreactor.

The end product was alcohols, acids and simple sugars, that could have industrial and medicinal value.

Vitamin B6, the PMS vitamin

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxa, pyridoxamine) works with other B vitamins to change carbohydrates into glucose, to help form hemoglobin, to create neurotransmitters, to maintain normal nerve function, to break down proteins, to maintain normal blood sugar levels, and to make antibodies.


B6 is not stored in the body. Therefore, it is ideal to eat a healthy diet that supplies the daily need for this essential nutrient.

Foods rich in vitamin B6

Natural food sources high in vitamin B6 include the following: sweet potatoes, potatoes, spinach, cabbage, turnip greens, garlic, winter squash, bok choy, bell peppers, avocado, green peas, tuna, chicken, turkey, beef, salmon, lentils, lima beans, pinto beans, banana, and sunflower seeds.

Vitamin B6 deficiency

Deficiency causes depression and cognitive problems, skin inflammation, burning feet, sore tongue, anemia, and chronic inflammation of the body. Severe deficiency can lead to convulsions. B6 is important for liver detoxification and immune system function. Severe deficiencies are rare; however, mild deficiencies are common.

How Vitamin B6 is used therapeutically

B6 has been proven to be a successful treatment for morning sickness during pregnancy, to lower homocysteine levels, and to treat tardive dyskinesia. The best known use of B6 is to treat PMS; however, double blind studies have not confirmed its efficacy. (But try telling this to any woman who has received immediate relief from raging hormones by taking B6, and any man who knows to give them to her.) Studies have proven its aid in treating children with asthma with resultant reduction of medications, but studies of adults with asthma have not shown the same result.

Evidence is incomplete or contradictory in regards to benefits in treating depression, vertigo, dermatitis, schizophrenia, prevention of kidney stones, HIV, photosensitivity, and diabetes during pregnancy.

In reading the literature, it appears that many studies have been conducted with small groups and many of the studies have not been set up properly. It is also suspect that none of the studies have been conducted with B-complex vitamins since B vitamins always work together.

Remember, if supplementing B6, it is best to take B6 along with the other B vitamins in a B complex, because any long-term use of a singular B vitamin will cause an imbalance in the others. B-complex formulas are available with higher B6 that maintains a working balance of these precious vitamins.

Managing PMS with B6

With a healthy diet, good whole food multivitamin/mineral supplementation and balanced fats (these are necessary for proper B vitamin assimilation), and a complex B vitamin that’s heavy on the B6, many women have been able to eliminate, or nearly eliminate their PMS symptoms. The gut also needs to be balanced in order to properly assimilate B vitamins. For more on B vitamins including ways to supplement, check out the first source below. And before starting B vitamin supplementation, check out Make Your Own Multivitamin & Kill Candida.



Vitamin B6 (therapeutic uses), by: EBSCO CAM Review Board, Salem Press Encyclopedia of Health, January, 2014

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/047005_vitamin_b6_pms_b_deficiency.html#ixzz3EiASQ5Zz

Why is China Having Measles Outbreaks When 99% are Vaccinated?

Why Is China Having Measles Outbreaks When 99-100 Are Vaccinated 1

China has one of the most vaccination compliant populations in the world. In fact, measles vaccination is mandatory. So why has China had over 700 measles outbreaks between 2009 and 2012 alone?

The obvious answer is that the measles vaccines are simply not effective.

A recent study published in the Public Library of Science (PLoS), titled “Difficulties in eliminating measles and controlling rubella and mumps: a cross-sectional study of a first measles and rubella vaccination and a second measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination”, has brought to light the ineffectiveness of two measles vaccines – measles–rubella (MR) and measles–mumps–rubella (MMR) — in fulfilling their widely claimed promise of preventing outbreaks in highly vaccine-compliant populations.

According to the study, “the reported coverage of the measles-rubella (MR) or measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is greater than 99.0% in Zhejiang province. However, the incidence of measles, mumps, and rubella remains high”.

China’s Mandatory Vaccine Experiment

Zhejiang is an eastern coastal province of the People’s Republic of China and home to 55 million inhabitants. All children there receive a compulsory first dose of MR at 8 months and another dose of the MMR vaccine at 18–24 months.

In the new study researchers analyzed a subset of 1,015 Zehjiang inhabitants and found that despite the recent measles outbreaks, 93.6% of them were seropositive for measles antibodies, a sign of vaccine-induced protective antibodies against measles in their blood serum — more than is required to obtain so-called ‘herd immunity’ threshold of 88%–92%, which is often claimed to be the solution to extinguishing infectious diseases altogether.[2] And yet despite this theoretical ‘protection’, eight-seven (8.6%) of the subjects developed measles anyway.

Another recent study, published in the highly authorative Bulletin of the World Health Organization, looked at recent measles occurrences throughout China and found that there were 707 measles outbreaks in the country recorded between 2009 and 2012, with a steep trend upwards in 2013: “The number of measles cases reported in the first 10 months of 2013 – 26,443 – was three times the number reported in the whole of 2012″. This is all the more odd considering that since 2009 “.. the first dose of measles-virus-containing vaccine has reached more than 90% of the target population”.

One would expect with increasing measles vaccine uptake there would result in a decrease in measles incidence.

Clearly the vaccines aren’t as effective as claimed, nor is the concept of herd immunity. This observation is supported unequivocally by the epidemiological evidence.

For more information, please see the following GreenMedInfo articles:

The failure of vaccine-induced antibody titers to protect against ‘vaccine preventable diseases’ may make more sense when you consider that the antibody-based theory of vaccine efficacy – a fundamental tenet of vaccinology and immunology – was recently called into question: Study Calls Into Question Primary Justification for Vaccines.

The discovery that antibodies are not required for protection against infection, while counter-intuitive, is not novel. In fact, not only are antibodies not required for immunity, in some cases high levels are found in the presence of active, even lethal infections. For example, high serum levels of antibodies against tetanus have been observed failing to confer protection against the disease. A report from 1992 published in the journal Neurology found severe tetanus in immunized patients with high anti-tetanus titers, one of whom died as a result of the infection. [Learn more.]

Injecting aluminum and other highly immunotoxic adjuvants into the body in order to stimulate elevated antibody titers does not in and of itself guarantee their affinity for the antigen they are supposed to be protecting you against. To the contrary, it is much like saying you have improved the overall health of the beehive by kicking it with your boot to stir its angry residents and getting them to sting the closest thing around them – and hence die.

How Vaccination Compromises Our Natural Immunity

To learn the almost universally repressed truth about the dangers and ineffectiveness of vaccines, I highly suggest you obtain a copy of Tetyana Obukhanych’s layperson-oriented book Vaccine Illusion. Dr. Obukhanych earned her Ph.D. in immunology at Rockefeller University, New York, NY

“Due to the growing number of vaccine safety concerns, our society has been polarized into vaccine advocates and vaccine opponents. However, in the debate over vaccine safety, we have lost sight of a bigger problem: how vaccination campaigns wipe out our herd immunity and endanger the very young… Vaccines cannot give us lasting immunity to infectious diseases… they jeopardize our natural immunity and overall health.”  Tetyana Obukhanych

The  WHO’s Goal of Eradicating Measles in China with Mandatory Vaccines Has Failed

In 2005, the Regional Committee of WHO Western Pacific Region established 2012 as the target date for the complete regional elimination of measles, and the Chinese Ministry of Health initiated mandatory measles vaccination to accomplish this. A year later, in 2006, China set a goal of accelerating their progress toward eliminating measles by 2012, striving to keep measles incidence below 0.1 per 100,000, and developed a series of vaccination strategies to execute these goals.

Yet despite the full and near-universal implementation of multi-dose vaccines, measles, mumps and rubella outbreaks continued to afflict those receiving them:

Measles outbreaks continued in 2008, with 12782 cases reported, which translated to 252.61 per million of the population. From 2009 to 2011, the incidence of measles remained high at 3.14–17.2 per million of the population.

Similarly, the incidence of mumps increased from 394.32 to 558.26 per million of the population in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

Finally, the reported cases of rubella increased from 3284 to 4284 in 2007 and 2011, respectively, representing a 30.45% increase or an increase from 65.94 to 78.71 per million of the population.

Therefore, the elimination of measles and control of mumps and rubella are urgent public health priorities in local regions.[1]

As I have explored in a previous GreenMedInfo article, “Measles: a Rash of Misinformation“, themeasles vaccine is not nearly as safe and effective as is widely believed. Measles outbreaks have consistently occurred in highly immunization-compliant populations. For a more extensive review of the epidemiological literature on measles outbreaks happening within highly vaccine-complaint populations, please read: The 2013 Measles Outbreak: a Failing Vaccine, Not a Failure To Vaccinate

Sadly, the latest study concludes with the recommendation that the MMR vaccine should be increased to two doses with the first dose at 8 months and the second dose at 18–24 months. They further suggest, that in addition to another MMR vaccine, “an MR vaccination speed-up campaign may be necessary for elder adolescents and young adults, particularly young females”.

This has long been the historical response pattern of the medical establishment’s pro-vaccine agenda when facing the evidence of their failed vaccine campaigns; instead of acknowledging the folly of relying exclusively on a vaccine-centric view of immunity, they default (counter-intuitively) to increasing the number of vaccines given, adding 1 or 2 ‘boosters’ when the vaccines clearly are not working in the first place. What about integrating a nutritional approach? Vitamin D? Improved sanitation and hygiene?

Take a look at other failed vaccine campaigns here, often followed by the same dead-end recommendations. This intellectually dishonest and callous approach is, in fact, a primary reason the dangerously high numbers of vaccines that are presently populating the CDC’s (arguably insane) immunization schedule keep rising– a schedule with the highest number of vaccines in the world, and which we are supposed to believe has nothing to do with our exponentially increasing autism rate (1 in 5,000 in 1975; 1 in 65 today) or our shameful worst infant mortality rate in the developed world. Despite the CDC’s dismissal, infant mortality rates are highest among countries that administer the most vaccines within the most vulnerable developmental window of infanthood.

Another highly concerning problem with the new study is its conspicuous lack of mention of the known unintended, adverse effects of vaccination. In fact, earlier this year we reported on another Chinese vaccine study that found that “42% of drug reactions are vaccine related“.

And of course, we cannot leave out mention of what is likely the greatest medical cover-up of our time: the senior vaccine scientist William Thompson at the CDC blew the whistle on how his agency covered up the autism/vaccine link for over a decade, with more malfeasance still to be uncovered; something which is still ongoing, as no mainstream media group has yet to cover the facts of the story in a serious or honest manner.

How many of these Chinese infants and children will undergo neurodevelopmental regression or suffer other neurological insults as a result of using the same MMR vaccine the CDC identified as doing harm to African-American boys? We may never know, but we can be certain that they are not immune to the well-documented dangers.

Given the gravity of potential harms associated with routine vaccines, juxtaposed to the perhaps far lesser risk associated with contracting what were once considered normal, immune-system building natural infections (such as measles), the issue here is really about balancing the pro’s versus the con’s, with the medical literature itself guiding parents decisions; parents who have the right and responsibility to choose what medical interventions are appropriate for their children.

For more research, please use GreenMedInfo’s vaccination database to help you make an informed choice.


[1] Zhifang Wang, Rui Yan, Hanqing He, Qian Li, Guohua Chen, Shengxu Yang, Enfu Chen. Difficulties in eliminating measles and controlling rubella and mumps: a cross-sectional study of a first measles and rubella vaccination and a second measles, mumps, and rubella vaccination. PLoS One. 2014 ;9(2):e89361. Epub 2014 Feb 20. PMID: 24586717

[2] Vaccination and herd immunity to infectious diseases. Anderson RM, May RM Nature. 1985 Nov 28-Dec 4; 318(6044):323-9. [PubMed]

Suspect OSA in patients with unexplained daytime sleepiness

Adult patients who are excessively sleepy during the day for no apparent reason should be targeted for assessment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) using a sleep study, a new guideline from the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends.

Sleep study records patients’ brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, and blood pressure during sleep to diagnose OSA and determine disease severity.

In patients whom OSA is suspected, the guideline recommends full-night, in-laboratory polysomnography (PSG) to establish the diagnosis. This test requires specialized facilities, is expensive and demands that patients spend the night under observation in a foreign environment, but yields the most accurate diagnostic information. [Ann Intern Med 2014;161:210-220]

Home-based portable sleep monitors may be used as an alternative in patients without comorbid conditions or when PSG is not available, although these can yield substantially different scores on the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI), which accounts for the number of pauses in breathing per hour of sleep.

Daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia) is a clinically relevant symptom of OSA, but clinicians should also include in their assessment other symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia and snoring, and risk factors such as obesity, said the guideline authors.

Clinicians are not advised to assess OSA in the absence of daytime sleepiness or treat patients with low AHI scores as evidence suggests neither improves clinical outcomes. Of note, portable monitoring in patients with chronic lung disease, congestive heart failure, neurologic disorders and other major comorbidities is also not recommended as very few studies included these patients. There is also little evidence for pre-operative screening for OSA and its effect on surgical outcomes.

The guideline, which is based on reviews of peer-reviewed studies published from 1996 to May 2013, is developed to provide clinicians with guidance on diagnosing OSA. For guidance on treatment, clinicians could refer to the ACP guideline on the management of OSA.

“Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious health condition that is associated with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cognitive impairment, and type 2 diabetes,” said ACP president Dr. David Fleming. “It is important to diagnose individuals with unexplained daytime sleepiness so that they can get the proper treatment.”

New technique enables targeted, controlled delivery of pain meds

US researchers have developed a biodegradable nanoscale film that can be used to deliver targeted pain medications, either directly through injections or by coating implantable medical devices, in a controlled manner.

The film can be implanted into the patient to release active drug for more than 14 months, said study author Professor Paula Hammond from the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US. “The technique can reduce toxicity to vital organs typically caused by systemic administration and decrease the need for medical intervention because of its long-lasting release.”

To make the film sturdy enough to limit hydrolysis – a reaction by which the body’s water breaks down the bonds in a drug molecule – the researchers utilized a layer-by-layer technique of attaching drug molecules to layers of thin-film coating. The layering strategy also allows them to adjust the dose of medication being delivered to targeted sites.

The effect was demonstrated with diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to treat pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. The layering technique allowed diclofenac to produce substantial painkilling effect through COX (cyclooxygenase) inhibition at a constant rate. Diclofenac also remained active after release, suggesting that the method does not reduce the potency of the drug.

“Normally you need a reservoir or a device to get long-term drug release and you have this foreign object retained in the body. But with this biodegradable film, you don’t have to go in or recover it,” said Mr. Bryan Hsu who helped develop the project as a doctoral student in Hammond’s lab.

The treatment technique has future applications for a broad spectrum of chronic or recalcitrant diseases, for example tuberculosis which requires oral antibiotics daily for at least 6 months to destroy the Mycobacterium tuberculosisbacteria.

Moving forward, the team is looking at optimizing the technique for different bodily environments, tests and medications for chronic pain. The idea is to develop something that could create an easier lifestyle for people with chronic pain and inflammation, the researchers said.

Scientists discover first biomarkers predictive of severe OA

The presence of micro RNA (miRNA) biomarkers in the blood is correlated to the development of severe osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee or hip, according to new research. [Abstract OP0003]

“The findings indicate that for the first time we will be able to predict the risk of severe osteoarthritis, before the disease starts to significantly impact a person’s life, allowing us to take preventative action early on,” said lead author Dr. Christian Beyer from University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. “Through the early identification of osteoarthritis we can decrease both the impact of the disease on individuals and the major socio-economic burden severe disease poses.”

The researchers analyzed blood samples from patients with OA over a follow-up period of 15 years, testing for the presence of miRNAs and occurrence of OA. Out of the 816 patients followed, 67 had ≥1 total joint replacement for severe knee or hip OA. The results of serum analyses demonstrated that severe OA was correlated with three miRNA biomarkers known as let-7e, miR-454 and miR-885-5p.

Prevention and early treatment is considered the most effective approach for the management of OA. However, there has been no way to identify severe OA early, when the disease is still clinically silent.

“We need to identify those individuals who are at risk of developing this disease. This is crucially important,” said Beyer. “At the moment, there are no markers or indicators that will show us who is at risk of that and we need to develop biomarkers that can predict the development of this disease.”

However, this new study suggests that three miRNAs could be used as biomarkers to predict severe OA, said Beyer, adding that: “let-7e was our most promising single micro-RNA and we also found a nice correlation between let-7e levels and the number of joint replacement surgeries due to severe OA. We found that the lower those let-7e levels were, the higher was the risk for receiving more than one joint replacement because of severe osteoarthritis of the knee or the hip.”

OA is a common musculoskeletal disorder affecting 10 percent of people worldwide. It is one of the top 10 most disabling diseases in developed countries and a major cause of knee and hip replacements. “Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and it is a major socioeconomic burden,” said Beyer. “Our study now opens many new questions that need to be addressed by future studies.”

Blood stains sometimes tell the whole story

Surely you’ve seen TV cops and forensic specialists come to all kinds of improbable conclusions about a murder based on blood spatter analysis. This infographic shows what forensic specialists can deduce from blood stains at a murder scene, and how this works.

Efficiently harvesting hydrogen fuel from Sun using Earth-abundant materials

Scientists have a new efficient way of producing hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water. By combining a pair of solar cells made with a mineral called perovskite and low cost electrodes, scientists have obtained a 12.3 percent conversion efficiency from solar energy to hydrogen, a record using Earth-abundant materials as opposed to rare metals.

When an electrical current is applied, water splits into hydrogen and oxygen.
Credit: EPFL / LPI / Alain Herzog

The race is on to optimize solar energy’s performance. More efficient silicon photovoltaic panels, dye-sensitized solar cells, concentrated cells and thermodynamic solar plants all pursue the same goal: to produce a maximum amount of electrons from sunlight. Those electrons can then be converted into electricity to turn on lights and power your refrigerator.

At the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at EPFL, led by Michael Grätzel, where scientists invented dye solar cells that mimic photosynthesis in plants, they have also developed methods for generating fuels such as hydrogen through solar water splitting.

To do this, they either use photoelectrochemical cells that directly split water into hydrogen and oxygen when exposed to sunlight, or they combine electricity-generating cells with an electrolyzer that separates the water molecules.

By using the latter technique, Grätzel’s post-doctoral student Jingshan Luo and his colleagues were able to obtain a performance so spectacular that their achievement is being published today in the journal Science. Their device converts into hydrogen 12.3 percent of the energy diffused by the sun on perovskite absorbers — a compound that can be obtained in the laboratory from common materials, such as those used in conventional car batteries, eliminating the need for rare-earth metals in the production of usable hydrogen fuel.

Bottled sun

This high efficiency provides stiff competition for other techniques used to convert solar energy. But this method has several advantages over others:

“Both the perovskite used in the cells and the nickel and iron catalysts making up the electrodes require resources that are abundant on Earth and that are also cheap,” explained Jingshan Luo. “However, our electrodes work just as well as the expensive platinum-based models customarily used.”

On the other hand, the conversion of solar energy into hydrogen makes its storage possible, which addresses one of the biggest disadvantages faced by renewable electricity — the requirement to use it at the time it is produced.

“Once you have hydrogen, you store it in a bottle and you can do with it whatever you want to, whenever you want it,” said Michael Grätzel. Such a gas can indeed be burned — in a boiler or engine — releasing only water vapor. It can also pass into a fuel cell to generate electricity on demand. And the 12.3% conversion efficiency achieved at EPFL “will soon get even higher,” promised Grätzel.

More powerful cells

These high efficiency values are based on a characteristic of perovskite cells: their ability to generate an open circuit voltage greater than 1 V (silicon cells stop at 0.7 V, for comparison).

“A voltage of 1.7 V or more is required for water electrolysis to occur and to obtain exploitable gases,” explained Jingshan Luo. To get these numbers, three or more silicon cells are needed, whereas just two perovskite cells are enough. As a result, there is more efficiency with respect to the surface of the light absorbers required. “This is the first time we have been able to get hydrogen through electrolysis with only two cells!” Luo adds.

The profusion of tiny bubbles escaping from the electrodes as soon as the solar cells are exposed to light say it better than words ever could: the combination of sun and water paves a promising and effervescent way for developing the energy of the future.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hkGAqk-TXw8&feature=youtu.be

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:

  1. Jingshan Luo, Jeong-Hyeok Im, Matthew T. Mayer, Marcel Schreier, Mohammad Khaja Nazeeruddin, Nam-Gyu Park, S. David Tilley, Hong Jin Fan, and Michael Grätzel. Water photolysis at 12.3% efficiency via perovskite photovoltaics and Earth-abundant catalysts. Science, 26 September 2014: 1593-1596 DOI:10.1126/science.1258307