Nanowire device generates electricity from ambient humidity – Physics World

One of the main problems facing the Internet of Things is energy-related.

Many use small solar panels, other batteries that recharge from time to time, but new methods are always being investigated to help them have more autonomous devices, that can survive alone in the middle of a forest by measuring "things" with their sensors, or monitoring variables in the middle of the Arctic without worrying about the battery.

In that sense, we have an interesting study published this year in the journal Nature, a system that promises to generate electricity from air humidity. They present it like this:

Environmental energy harvesting offers the promise of clean energy for self-sustaining systems. Known technologies, such as solar cells, thermoelectric devices, and mechanical generators, have specific environmental requirements that restrict where they can be implemented and limit their potential for continuous energy production. The ubiquity of atmospheric humidity offers an alternative.

So far, existing moisture-based energy harvesting technologies can only produce short, intermittent bursts of energy (less than 50 seconds), and that's what they want to solve. This is caused by the lack of a sustained conversion mechanism, and they have now shown that thin-film devices made of nanoscale protein wires collected from the Geobacter sulfide reduce microbe can generate continuous electrical energy in the environmental environment.

Scientists have worked out how to generate electricity from thin air |  Living

The study shows that they can create a sustained voltage of about 0.5 volts through a film of 7 micrometers thick, with a current density of about 17 microamps per square centimeter.

The science behind the topic is explained in the article:

[...] the driving force behind this power generation is a self-sufficient moisture gradient that forms within the film when exposed to moisture that is naturally present in the air. Connecting multiple devices linearly increases voltage and current to power electronics.

They thus show a less location-restricted form, although it is still early to be able to give dates of deployment of devices that use this microbe for the generation of the energy necessary for its operation.
Lineesh Kumar

"Lk Techsky is Expertise in covering technology news, reviews, producing quality tech videos, graphic designing, VFX editing, and more..." facebook instagram linkedin

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