Indeed, on a hot summer day, we all gripe about the humidity, but a recent study revealed that the same humidity may actually be a clean, pollution-free source of electricity.
A new study published in the journal, Advanced Material said: "Air humidity is a vast, sustainable reservoir of energy that, unlike solar and wind, is continuously available."
It added, “This is very exciting,” said Xiaomeng Liu, a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the paper’s lead author. “We are opening up a wide door for harvesting clean electricity from thin air.”
In fact, according to researchers, almost any material may be "turned into a device" that continuously generates power from air humidity, USA Today reported.
“The air contains an enormous amount of electricity,” said Jun Yao, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and the paper’s senior author.
"What we’ve done is create a human-built, small-scale cloud that produces electricity for us predictably and continuously so that we can harvest it," he explained.
The "air-gen" effect, which Yao and his colleagues refer to as the "heart" of the man-made cloud, is what powers an air-powered generator.
Moreover, the study explains that scientists have developed a device that can draw energy from humidity using materials such as silicon or wood. It is the size of a fingernail and thinner than a single hair, dotted with tiny holes known as "nanopores," The Washington Post said.
Additionally, the university also stated that since humidity is ever-present, the harvester would run 24/7, eliminating the need for wind or solar technology, whether or not the wind blows.
"The work opens a wide door for the broad exploration of sustainable electricity from air," the study said.
Yao told the Washington Post that around 1 billion air-gens, stacked to be the "size of a refrigerator," could produce a kilowatt and partly power a home in ideal conditions, opening the door for "sustainable electricity from air."
“Imagine a future world in which clean electricity is available anywhere you go,” said Yao. “The generic air-gen effect means that this future world can become a reality.”
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