FEB 22, 2020 6:18 PM PST

Air-Powered Generators?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed ‘air-powered generator’--a device that utilizes natural protein to produce electricity from moisture in the air. The device, labeled as ‘Air-Gen’, could hold significant implications for the future of renewable energy, climate change and medicine.

"We are literally making electricity out of thin air," says Jun Yao, an electrical engineer at UMass Amherst.

"The Air-gen generates clean energy 24/7. It's the most amazing and exciting application of protein nanowires yet,” adds microbiologist, Derek Lovely.

The Air-gen forms a bridge between electrodes to protein nanowires produced by Geobacter bacterium. The electrodes and the protein nanowires are non-polluting and low-cost generator.

Learn more about early attempts of air generator:

 

 

"I saw that when the nanowires were contacted with electrodes in a specific way the devices generated a current,” says Xiaomeng Liu, a Ph.D. student in Yao's lab who was developing sensor devices. “I found that that exposure to atmospheric humidity was essential and that protein nanowires adsorbed water, producing a voltage gradient across the device."

The Air-gen device depends on thin film of protein nanowires that are less than 10 microns thick, then the bottom of the film rests on an electrode. The film will then adsorbs water vapor from the atmosphere.

Yao says, "The ultimate goal is to make large-scale systems. For example, the technology might be incorporated into wall paint that could help power your home. Or, we may develop stand-alone air-powered generators that supply electricity off 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."

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
JUN 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
How to Enable Computers to Solve Increasingly Complex Problems? Make Them "Think" Like a Metal
JUN 24, 2020
How to Enable Computers to Solve Increasingly Complex Problems? Make Them "Think" Like a Metal
In metal works, the term annealing refers to a treatment with heat that increases the elasticity of a metal material. Si ...
JUN 26, 2020
Neuroscience
Artificial and Natural Neurons Communicate Using Dopamine
JUN 26, 2020
Artificial and Natural Neurons Communicate Using Dopamine
Researchers from Stanford University have shown that artificial neurons can communicate with biological neurons with dop ...
JUL 07, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Software That Finds Drug-Resistant Bacteria
JUL 07, 2020
Software That Finds Drug-Resistant Bacteria
Finding drug-resistant genes in bacteria remains a challenge. However, scientists at Washington State University have de ...
SEP 04, 2020
Technology
Machine Learning May Protect Future Pregnancies
SEP 04, 2020
Machine Learning May Protect Future Pregnancies
It is critical for doctors to examine a placenta after the birth of a baby to determine a mothers health risks for any f ...
OCT 14, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
Robots Are Moving Developmental Biology Forward
OCT 14, 2020
Robots Are Moving Developmental Biology Forward
Researchers have created a robot that can analyze the effects of mutations that occur in portions of the genome that hel ...
OCT 04, 2020
Technology
What Are Colloidal Diamonds?
OCT 04, 2020
What Are Colloidal Diamonds?
What are colloidal diamonds? They are stable and self-assembled formations of minuscule materials that hold valuable app ...
Loading Comments...