New renewable device generates electricity out of thin air #25970

19 Février, 2020, 09:24 | Auteur: Therese Cote
  • New renewable device generates electricity out of thin air #25970

"The Air-gen generates clean energy 24/7", said Dr. Jun Yao, an electrical engineer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Scientists hope this cutting-edge tech could revolutionise renewable energy, with significant implications for climate change.

The device works by connecting electrodes to the protein nanowires, which are produced by a type of bacteria called geobacter; they are non-polluting, renewable and low cost. So, the generator connects electrodes to the protein nanowires such that it generates electric current from the surrounding water vapor.

The Air-gen device can generate power even in areas with extremely low humidity such as the Sahara Desert.

Unlike other forms of renewable energy such as wind and solar, this new tech does not require sunlight or wind.

The system is quite straightforward and consists of a thin film of protein nanowire just seven micrometers (sometimes known as a microns) thick which is positioned between two electrodes and exposed to the air.

The film covers the top and bottom parts of the electrode and absorbs water vapor from the atmosphere.

However, the researchers intend to develop a small Air-Gen patch to power wearable devices.

The current Air-gen device can power small electronics. That would, theoretically, completely eliminate the need for periodic charging. For example, the technology might be incorporated into wall paint that could help power your home, " Yao explained. "Or, we could develop autonomous generators that supply electricity from the grid". "Once we get to an industrial scale for wire production, I fully expect that we can make large systems that will make a major contribution to sustainable energy production", said Yao.

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By contrast, the Air-gen produces a sustained voltage of around 0.5 volts, with a current density of about 17 microamperes per square centimetre.

"We turned E. coli into a protein nanowire factory", Lovley says. "With this new scalable method, protein nanowire offer will no for a longer time be a bottleneck to establishing these purposes".

They found it buried in the muddy shores of the Potomac River more than three decades ago: a unusual "sediment organism" that could do things nobody had ever seen before in bacteria. He detected this microorganism in the mud of the Potomac River.

"We are literally producing electricity from nowhere".

Yes, scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have invented a device that can do just that.

The lab has also been doing work on approaches to make the needed protein nanowires far more successfully using distinct germs.

A breakthrough in the development came from one of Prof Yao's PhD students, Xiaomeng Liu, who was developing sensor devices when he made an incredible discovery.

Apart from the Air-gen, Yao's laboratory has created many other applications using the protein nanowires. Now, the researchers are seeking to bring their innovation to commercial scale.

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