Synthetic, light-driven proton pump has the added potential capability to desalinate with direct solar power

By binding photosensitive dyes to common plastic membranes and adding water, chemists at the University of California, Irvine have made a new type of solar power generator. The device is similar to familiar silicon photovoltaic cells but differs in a fundamental way: Instead of being produced via electrons, its electricity comes from the motion of ions. Dubbed the “synthetic, light-driven proton pump” by its creators, the innovation – because of its ionic basis – has the added potential capability of taking the salt out of seawater. “The materials used to make such a device can be dirt-cheap,” said Shane [