Clean energy is considered to be the future trend. In recent years, technology Internet companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon have increased their investment in wind and solar power generation projects to generates electricity from air.
How to improve the efficiency of renewable energy use has also been a subject that scientists have been studying.
Scientists developed a power generation device “Air-gen
Recently, scientists have developed a power generation device Air-gen, which can directly use the moisture in the air to generate electricity. This technology may have a major impact on renewable energy, climate change, and medical fields in the future.
This device was jointly developed by Jun Yao, an electrical engineer at the University of Massachusetts Amster, and Derek Lovley, a microbiologist. The researchers called this device an “air-powered generator” (which can generate electricity out of thin air). The research results have been published in Nature. According to Jun Yao, this generator can “generate electricity out of thin air”.
Generate electricity from air! How did this happen?
According to a report in Nature, this “air generator” is mainly composed of a 7-micron film formed by conductive protein nanowires produced by the microorganism Geobacteria, with an electrode at the top and bottom of the film. When the protein nanowire is connected to the electrode, the film can be used to absorb moisture from the air. The water molecules are decomposed into hydrogen ions and oxygen ions, causing charges to accumulate on the top of the film. Generate electrical energy.
Jun Yao said that the “air generator” can generate electricity 24 hours a day, 7 days a day, and no external power source is needed during the process. This energy source is pollution-free, renewable, and low-cost.
Air Generator does not require wind and sun.
Also, the study found that the “air generator” works best in the air with a humidity of 45%, but it can generate electricity even in extremely dry places, such as the Sahara Desert. Derek Lovley said that compared with solar and wind energy and other renewable energy sources, the “air generator” has obvious advantages, it does not require wind and sun, they can run indoors too.
How Much Power does an air generator Generate?
According to the researchers, the key to the “air generator” being able to generate electricity for a long time is that after the nanofilm absorbs the moisture in the air, the gap between the protein nanowires is used to form a self-sustaining moisture gradient, so can achieve continuous power generation for more than 2 months.
However, the power generated by this “air generator” is very limited. A single device can only produce a continuous voltage of about 0.5 V, and the current density is about 17 μA/cm². It requires multiple devices to work together to achieve power supply. Researchers said that the “air generator” is now able to power small electronic devices.
Next plan is to enable the “air generator” into electronics devices
To improve the efficiency of the “air generator”, Derek Lovley’s laboratory has also recently developed a new microbial strain that uses E. coli to mass-produce nano protein wires, further reducing costs.
The researchers’ next plan is to enable the “air generator” to provide power to wearable devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches so that these devices no longer require traditional batteries. They also hope to apply it to mobile phones, so that mobile phone users get rid of the charging treasure. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop a large-scale system that can powerhouses.
Future is here
This “air generator” embodies a new direction of new energy research. Through interdisciplinary cooperation such as electronic engineering and microbiology, if this technology can be matured and commercialized, it will undoubtedly be a breakthrough for the energy field. It is reported that in addition to the “air generator”, the laboratory is also developing other applications based on nano protein wires.
Jun Yao said: The new era of protein-based electronic devices has just begun.
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