I have been saying to the enviro-nuts… sit back and wait until the technology comes along to deal with this stuff… it takes time. Well, looks like I was right, if we can trust ths story from New South Wales.

A team of Australian scientists predicts that a revolutionary new way to harness the power of the sun to extract clean and almost unlimited energy supplies from water will be a reality within seven years.

Using special titanium oxide ceramics that harvest sunlight and split water to produce hydrogen fuel, the researchers say it will then be a simple engineering exercise to make an energy-harvesting device with no moving parts and emitting no greenhouse gases or pollutants.

It would be the cheapest, cleanest and most abundant energy source ever developed: the main by-products would be oxygen and water. Rooftop panels placed on 1.6 million houses, for example, could supply Australia’s entire energy needs.

“This is potentially huge, with a market the size of all the existing markets for coal, oil and gas combined,” says Professor Janusz Nowotny, who with Professor Chris Sorrell is leading a solar hydrogen research project at the University of NSW Centre for Materials and Energy Conversion. The team is thought to be the most advanced in developing the cheap, light-sensitive materials that will be the basis of the technology.

“Based on our research results, we know we are on the right track and with the right support we now estimate that we can deliver a new material within seven years,” says Nowotny.

Now; there are some safety issues with this stuff in an automotive environment that still need to be worked out, in my view. But the auto makers are all over it, already.

A tip of BitsBallcap to Dean Esmay.

As I go to post this, a thought occurrs; what will the environuts do when they can no longer bitch about SUV’s and gas milage? (Snicker… I’m sure they’ll find something)