New Green Technology Generates Electricity ‘Out of Thin Air’ | Air-gen.

New Green Technology Generates Electricity ‘Out of Thin Air’ | Air-gen.


Scientists at the University of Massachusetts
Amherst have developed a device that uses a natural protein to create electricity from
moisture in the air. This new technology could have significant
implications for the future of renewable energy, climate change and in the future of medicine. As reported in the Journal Nature, the researchers
have created a device they call an “Air-gen.” or air-powered generator, with electrically
conductive protein nanowires produced by the microbe Geobacter. The Air-gen connects electrodes to the protein
nanowires in such a way that electrical current is generated from the water vapor naturally
present in the atmosphere. i-e They are literally making electricity
out of thin air. The Air-gen generates clean energy 24/7 The new technology is non-polluting, renewable
and low-cost. It can generate power even in areas with extremely
low humidity such as the Sahara Desert. It has significant advantages over other forms
of renewable energy including solar and wind, because unlike these other renewable energy
sources, the Air-gen does not require sunlight or wind, and “it even works indoors.” The Air-gen device requires only a thin film
of protein nanowires less than 10 microns thick. The bottom of the film rests on an electrode,
while a smaller electrode that covers only part of the nanowire film sits on top. The film adsorbs water vapor from the atmosphere. A combination of the electrical conductivity
and surface chemistry of the protein nanowires, coupled with the fine pores between the nanowires
within the film, establishes the conditions that generate an electrical current between
the two electrodes. The researchers say that the current generation
of Air-gen devices are able to power small electronics, and they expect to bring the
invention to commercial scale soon. Next steps they plan include developing a
small Air-gen “patch” that can power electronic wearables such as health and fitness monitors
and smart watches, which would eliminate the requirement for traditional batteries. They also hope to develop Air-gens to apply
to cell phones to eliminate periodic charging. The ultimate goal of the researchers is to
make large-scale systems. For example, the technology might be incorporated
into wall paint that could help power your home.

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