Hygroelectricity – Power From the Air

No, it’s not a typo. Hygroelectrcitiy is a new type of renewable energy that scientists are researching and experimenting with.

But what is it? Hygroelectricity is basically power collected from the charged droplets in humid air

The theory was introduced last year by Fernando Galembeck Ph.D from the University of Campinas in Brazil at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).  According to him air particles are not neutral as it is currently thought but can become charged. He proved this in his laboratory with silica and aluminium phosphate particles, which became negative and positive – respectively. These particles are generally present in the air surrounding us.

According to his idea, this energy should be later available for specially designed collectors (similar to solar cells), which can transfer the energy to be used in homes or, for instance, in cars.

But Dr Galembeck is not the first one trying to harvest energy from the air. Nikola Tesla already investigated atmospheric electricity, with special focus on lightning.

Benefits

Besides obvious advantages, hygroelectricity can be an alternative energy resource in humid climates, primarily the tropics, where access to electricity may be an issue today.

Also, the research into charged particles in the air can help scientists to  understand lightning, and even prevent injuries and damage by through using hygroelectronic devices on buildings to retrieve the charge out of the air.

Challenges

One of the biggest questions regarding hygroelectricity is how much energy can actually be harvested, which according to some experts is rather small. Also, collection designs have not yet been developed.

Also, the electric charge of water particles is still a very controversial topic, and not all professionals believe that the lab results can work the same way in real life.

Despite these challenges however, scientists agree that it could be a very promising research area, which could bring great results in the future.

 

Written for the Energy Saving Warehouse

Image by vegadsl

 

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