US scientists have developed a device that can harvest moisture in the air to create a clean electricity supply.
A team of engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is generating clean electricity from thin air.
According to the university, „almost any material can be turned into a device that continuously collects electricity from moisture in the air”.
Importantly, it says that the material can be filled with nanopores less than 100 nanometers in diameter. Researchers have called this the „common wind-zen effect.”
In Research paperIt explained, „Air moisture is a vast, stable reservoir of energy that, unlike solar and wind, is continuously available”.
But until now, exploring wind energy potential has been a complex process – for example, hampered by the development of unique material sets and consequent scaling.
However, with this exposure, the new study suggests that we can continue to harvest energy from „a wide range of inorganic, organic and biological materials.”
Using nanopores to create small-scale thunder clouds
The key lies in nanopores – a nanometer-sized pore that allows air and water to pass through “anything” and ultimately create a surface charge.
The harvester must be made from a thin layer filled with nanopores less than 100 nm (one-thousandth of a human hair).
Because these pores are so small, as water molecules pass from the top of the material to the bottom, they collide with the edges of the pore and create a charge.
The upper part of the layer is hit by more charged water molecules than the lower part, creating a voltage imbalance – similar to the charge imbalance seen in a cloud.
So it produces small-scale, thunderstorms—which produce electricity.
„There’s a lot of electricity in the air” June Yaoassistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at UMass Amherst, said in a statement.
“Think of a cloud, which is nothing more than a mass of water droplets. Each of those droplets carries a charge, and when conditions are right, the cloud will produce lightning — but we don’t know how to reliably capture electricity from lightning.
„What we’ve done is create a man-made, small-scale cloud that produces electricity for us in a predictable and continuous manner so we can harvest it.”
Moisture in the air is constant, meaning the harvester can theoretically operate 24/7 in any condition.
„The idea is simple, but it hasn’t been invented before, and it opens up all kinds of possibilities,” Yao said.
„Oddany rozwiązywacz problemów. Przyjazny hipsterom praktykant bekonu. Miłośnik kawy. Nieuleczalny introwertyk. Student.