Scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a new device, which can generate electricity from the moisture present in the air. This device is called ‘Air-gen’. It uses natural protein to produce electricity from thin air. Experts have said that the new technology will be beneficial for the future of renewable energy, climate change and the field of medicine. Microbiologist Derek Lovley and electrical engineer Jun Yao have developed this air-powered generator. It has been made out of electrically conductive protein nanowires.
These nanowires have been produced by the microbe Geobacter. The Air-gen joins the electrodes to the protein nanowires to produce electricity from the water vapor naturally present in the atmosphere. According to the makers, this device can generate clean energy round the clock. Experts have claimed that the new technology is pollution-free, renewable, and cost-effective. They have said that this device can produce electricity in places with low humidity like the Sahara desert. It has advantages over other forms of renewable energy such as solar and wind, as it does not need sunlight or wind to function. This technology works indoors as well.
Scientists have told that Air-gen needs 10 microns thick protein wires to function. The bottom of the film sets on the electrodes and the smaller electrodes, which wraps the nanowires film sits on the top. The film soaks the moisture from the atmosphere. A combination of electrical conductivity and chemistry of the protein wires creates a condition, which generates the electricity between the two electrodes. As per the experts, the current generation of the device is sufficient to supply power to small electronics. Researchers are working to bring this invention on a commercial scale in the future.
Experts have informed that they are planning to come up with a small Air-gen ‘patch’, which can power electronic wearables like, fitness monitors, which might replace the requirement of traditional batteries in the future. They have planned to develop an Air-gen device, which can be used in cellphones as well. If scientists succeed in making such a device, users would not need periodic charging for their mobile phones. Jun Yao Has informed us that they are focusing on making large-scale systems, which can be used as wall painting to power households. Experts have claimed that this is just the beginning of a new epoch of Protein-based electronic gadgets.