Electricity Could Soon Be Collected From Air
September 20th, 2015 | by Kevin James Krotz
New Alternative For Energy Creation
It has become abundantly clear that we can’t continue with our reliance on fossil fuels; a realization that has kickstarted a push for alternatives. A new alternative has now emerged that looks to change how we create and store power.
In a report presented at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), several scientists have announced that they are in the early stages of creating devices that capture electricity from the air.
Capturing Electricity From The Atmosphere
Fernando Galembeck, Ph.D. is the study leader for the group that is researching how electricity is produced and discharged in the atmosphere.
“If we know how electricity builds up and spreads in the atmosphere, we can also prevent death and damage caused by lightning strikes. Our research could pave the way for turning electricity from the atmosphere into an alternative energy source for the future.” said Galembeck to ScienceDaily.
Hygroelectricity Brings Energy Collecting To New Areas
Galembeck and his colleagues have found and proven that water in the atmosphere picks up an electric charge. Using tiny particles of silica and aluminum phosphate, the team found that silica became more negatively charged in the presence of high humidity, with aluminum phosphate becoming more positively charged.
“This was clear evidence that water in the atmosphere can accumulate electrical charges and transfer them to other materials it comes into contact with,” Galembeck explained. “We are calling this ‘hygroelectricity,’ meaning ‘humidity electricity’.”
In a way that’s being described to a similar process as to how solar cells collect solar energy, the team says that someday collectors could be developed that capture hygroelectricity. Hygroelectric collectors would work best in areas with high humidity, just like solar cells work best in sunny areas.
“These are fascinating ideas that new studies by ourselves and by other scientific teams suggest are now possible,” Galembeck said. “We certainly have a long way to go. But the benefits in the long range of harnessing hygroelectricity could be substantial.”
Hygroelectricity collecting is not something that currently exists, at least outside of labs, but the prospects of being able to collect and store energy in places where other fossil fuel alternatives previously could not exist is something to look forward to.