A team of researchers from the University of Massachusetts Amherst developed a device called Air-gen that can produce electricity from the simple humidity present in the air we breathe.
The new device, designed by electric engineer Jun Yao and microbiologist Derek Lovley, is made up of thin protein nanofil films that absorb energy from the small electric charge present in the humidity of the air, which can often be incredibly Technology is based on the interaction between the surfaces of protein films, which are less than 10 microns thick. The lower part of the film is supported by an electrode, while the upper part is characterized by the presence of a second electrode of lower dimensions. The water vapor from the environment is absorbed by protein film and channeled into tiny pores between the nanofils inside it, promoting the conditions for the flow of electric current between the two electrodes.
This process generates a continuous voltage of about 0.5 volts for a 7-micrometer film, with a current density of 17 microamps per square centimetre. A sufficient energy value to enable the Air-gen to power small electronic devices. ♪ We are literally creating electricity from nothing ♪ said the same Yao; ♪ The Air-gen generates clean energy 24/7. In this regard, the research published in Nature underlines that this technology is non-polluting, renewable, economical and can also operate in areas with extremely low humidity. The aim of the researchers is to make the device more efficient, creating it on a large scale to power e.g. smartphones or wearable devices. Together with the devices that generate clean energy from the waves of the sea, these objects could contribute more and more to the achievement of a more sustainable energy future.