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Efficiency

One thing you rarely find is the photon energy to fuel energy conversion efficiency of such proposals (especially from academia). When you do find those numbers, they are well below 1%. PV or solar thermal can give 15-40%.
 

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As PDT and &Eye pointed out, this sounds great on the surface. Hopefully this can be done safely and economically in scale. I don't see an issue with low solar efficiencies (although 1% might be too low). It is the cost/KWh that has inhibited PV and solar thermal, not the efficiencies.

How does basic research at public universities equate to markets sourting themselves out in a timely manner?

Solutions ALWAYS present themselves eventually, but with little forethought the paths to the solutions are rarely ones that anyone would choose.
 
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