Unexpectedly, steam can become a renewable energy source in the future

According to researchers from Tel Aviv University, the electricity generated from the interaction between water and metal molecules can be used as an abundant and readily available renewable energy source.

We may already know solar power, wind, water, geothermal or ocean waves. But few people realize that water vapor in the atmosphere could become an extremely renewable renewable power source in the near future.

Picture 1 of Unexpectedly, steam can become a renewable energy source in the future
Water vapor in the atmosphere can also become an extremely renewable source of renewable electricity.

This may sound absurd, but it is entirely possible thanks to the interaction mechanism between water molecules and metal surfaces.

Professor Colin Price has cooperated with Professor Hadas Saaroni and graduate student Judi Lax from the Department of Environmental and Earth Sciences at Tel Aviv University. Together, the three developed a tiny battery that uses only moisture in the air to generate electricity.

Price said: "We have sought to take advantage of a phenomenon that occurs in nature, that generate electricity from water . Power in thunderstorms only created by water at the various stages, such as water vapor, water droplets and ice. The time clouds form is a way for them to collect water droplets and create huge sparks, namely lightning. "

The goal of the researchers is not to create an electrical discharge, but to see if their small battery can be charged with water vapor in the air. And finally their test was successful.

In fact, research relies heavily on findings and observations from ancient times. In the 19th century, British physicist Michael Faraday observed charged droplets of water on metal surfaces due to friction. Or as some recent studies confirm, some metals can be charged if they come into contact with moisture.

Picture 2 of Unexpectedly, steam can become a renewable energy source in the future
Humidity is now an accurate source of energy that can be reused and produced continuously.

To test the battery prototype, the team conducted an experiment to determine the voltage between two different metals when exposed to high humidity. One of these metals is grounded.

Professor Price explained: "We found that there was no voltage between them in the case of dry air. But when the relative humidity increased above 60%, the voltage began to grow on the metal surface. I lowered the humidity to less than 60%, the voltage immediately disappeared. When we performed the experiment outside under natural conditions, we saw the same result. "

Price emphasizes: "Water is a very special molecule. During the collision between molecules, it can transfer an electrical charge from one molecule to another. Through friction, it can create We tried to reproduce electricity in the lab and found that different isolated metal surfaces would accumulate different amounts of charge from water vapor in the atmosphere. it is only when the relative humidity is above 60% ".

Renewable energy sources are abundant in developing countries

The good news is that the conditions for generating electricity in the study are often found mainly in developing countries, especially the humid tropics, which always have a humidity of 60% or more.

Humidity is now an accurate source of energy that can be reused and produced continuously. The team points out that humid air can be used to charge surfaces with voltages of approximately 1V. In addition, this method can be used as an effective way to supply electricity to remote areas where the grid is difficult to reach.

Price believes that there will definitely be rechargeable batteries in the future with air in the air.

The research was published in Scientific Reports in May.

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