Tech News

From Thin Air to Energy

Scientists have developed a technology that can harness electricity from the humidity in the air, a concept known as hygroelectricity, which could potentially power small devices such as computers and sensors. Nikola Tesla and others have explored this idea in the past, but promising results were never achieved.

However, multiple research groups around the world are now discovering new ways to extract electricity from water molecules present in the air. While the challenge lies in collecting enough electricity to be usable, scientists are optimistic that they may soon be able to harvest enough to power devices. One of the teams working on this concept is in Portugal, where a European Union-funded project called CATCHER aims to harness humid air as a source of energy.

The team is led by Svitlana Lyubchyk from Lusófona University in Lisbon, who has also co-founded a company called CascataChuva. They have developed a grey disc made of zirconium oxide that can trap water molecules from humid air and generate an electrical charge as they flow through tiny channels. The disc can generate around 1.5 volts of electricity, and just two discs are enough to power a small LED light. By connecting multiple discs together, the output can be increased. While some information about the team’s work is available online, full details of their latest experiments have not yet been published or peer-reviewed.

You may also want to know why Netherlands announced Phone ban in schools

The team also did not share any materials demonstrating how the discs are connected to power the LED. Many questions remain regarding the mechanisms behind hygroelectricity, and more research is needed to fully understand why it works. Commercialising this technology would require demonstrating sufficient power output and cost-competitiveness compared to other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. These more established technologies are likely to dominate the renewable energy sector in the coming decade as the world transitions away from fossil fuels. However, scientists remain hopeful that advancements in hygroelectricity research will lead to the emergence of new energy materials.

Related Articles

Back to top button