This device generates electricity 'out of thin air'

Scientists generate electrical current from moisture in the air

New Air-Gen Device can Generate Electricity out of air

Imagine being able to generate electricity straight out of thin air. It also is non-polluting, renewable and low-priced. The researchers stated that this technology they developed could be used in the future in important roles in renewable energy, climate change and health.

Warm air produced by global warming tends to contain more vapour, which makes the device suited for a future adversely affected by climate change.

"We are literally making electricity out of thin air", Jun Yao, an electrical engineer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, said in a press release.

The device itself is called an "Air-gen" or an air-powered generator.

Furthermore, Air-gen is unique from other sources of renewable energy as it does not require sunlight or wind.

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Yao says, "We are literally making electricity out of thin air".

Researchers have developed a new device that uses electricity generated by natural bacteria to produce electricity from moisture in the air.

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. This part will absorb the water vapor that is coming from the atmosphere- this will then help on producing electrical current on both electrodes.

The scientists hope to scale up the technology to power small electronics.

Geobacter is a genus of Proteobacteria (pictured). However, the researchers intend to develop a small Air-Gen patch to power wearable devices. He said that as an example, it is being thought that this technology should be incorporated into the wall paint, so that 24 hours of electricity can be easily available for the whole house or a generator powered by this technology can also be developed. Or, we may develop stand-alone air-powered generators that supply electricity off the grid.

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"We turned E. coli into a protein nanowire factory", Lovley said. He was the first to isolate the bacteria used in the protein nanowires from sand in the Potomac River that runs along the United States capital in 1987. In his lab, he and his research partners discovered the microbe's ability to produce conductive protein nanowires.

According to researchers at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst in the USA.

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.

"I observed that when the nanowires ended up contacted with electrodes in a particular way the gadgets created a recent".

"A maintained moisture gradient, which is fundamentally different to anything seen in previous systems, explains the continuous voltage output from our nanowire device".

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Yao adds that the current applications are "just the beginning of a new era of protein-based electronic devices".

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