Nature Communications just comes from revealing a very interesting study that shows us how a team at Columbia University used microscopic, moisture sucking spores as energy source for a very small 0.1 Kg car. The concept still works on very small scales but somewhere in the future we can use the power of humidity to run on transistors.
Electricity coming from water vapors represents a completely new take on the way we can make the future more eco-friendly and provide cheaper prices for electricity that can basically come for free, provided this technique will be adapted to a larger scale.
Scientists have developed a completely new way to harness the power of vapors to produce electrical power that lights up a small led. There are two novel devices under development still, deriving power directly from evaporation. First of all there is a piston driven engine that can generate electricity with its capacity to flash a light and also a rotary engine that can drive that miniature car.
The vapors used in the study are known to come from a special bacteria known under the name of Bacillus subtilis that is found in human intestines or dirt. These particular spores shrink or swell depending on the level of moisture in the air, with modulations of up to 6% changes in size as they absorb moisture and release it.
The study proved to be efficient as researchers managed to build a piston-driven engine with glued bacterial spores on both sides of a thin and double sided plastic tape, creating a clear line of spores.
When all the dry air shrinks the spores, the dashes covered in those curve and thus transform the tape from straight to wavy, shortening it. When one end of the tape is anchored, it tugs on its attachments.
If the air is moist the tape extends to release the force. The result is a new type of artificial muscle that is controlled by changing humidity.
Alternatives are always possible if we know where to look for them. Renewable energy alternatives can make the world a healthier and safer place, as all the pollution we know create destroys and disintegrates large ecosystems, bringing animals to extinction and making the climate unbearably warm. Renewable energy means more protection for the environment, hence a better life.
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