An engineering team invents a device capable of harvesting electricity from vapor in the air, even under desert conditions.
Electrical engineer jun yau and Derek Lovley have invented a new form of renewable energy they call an “air-powered generator.”
The device works through protein nano-wires that are actually built out by a form of microbial life. It may as well be a kind of hybrid bio-technology except that the protein nano-wires are not actually alive. Irregardless it is an incredible leap from microchip technology to biologically inspired protein frameworks for technology.
The main function of the device is simply to connect functioning electrodes to the organically generated protein nano-wires that harvest electricity from moisture in the air. The water vapor is likely captured much in the same way as it harvested for water-based humanitarian missions in Africa, except that in this case – it is generating electricity as well!
NOTE: An air powered engine has been tested by the ESO. However, it works through a different method – by converting the air in to plasma for propulsion.
Researchers imagine that “air-gen” may one day be used for a stand-alone, off-grid air powered generator or even put in to wall paint that can help power your home. Once it reaches the industrial scale it could mark a huge milestone for sustainable energy production.
According to them it is inexpensive, non-polluting, works indoors as well as in dry deserted conditions such as the Sahara desert. Given that the opportunity for humanitarian relief is incredibly salient, it could really benefit communities living in harsh conditions if this research were further streamlined.
What may be less obvious but still worth mentioning is how air powered generators could help future space colonists by providing a source of electricity where there may be water vapor but no sun or less sun than usual.
A question worthy of being asked as well – If the device is harvesting electricity from vapor in the air does the air become more dry? Where if at all is that important threshold between being able to harvest moisture from the air and drying out the atmosphere around you?