Sunday, August 29, 2010

Harvesting Energy From Mist in Humid Regions

You could say the technology is almost pulling electricity out of thin air. Of course it would be more accurate to say it was pulling the electricity out of 'moistened' air. Scientist discovered the that water droplets in the atmosphere can become charged when they brush up against dust particles or other liquids. They are working on a way to pull the electricity out of the air effectively and if they are successful such a device could compliment solar panels on your house.

"Originally, scientists believed that water droplets in the atmosphere were electrically neutral, and remained that way even after brushing up against charges on dust particles and other liquids. However, Galembeck discovered in a series of lab experiments that water droplets do in fact pick up a charge.

He used particles of silica and aluminum phosphate, both of which are common dust particles in the air, and found that they become increasingly charged as the amount of water vapor in the air increases. “This was clear evidence that water in the atmosphere can accumulate electrical charges and transfer them to other materials it comes into contact with,” said Galembeck.

It could be possible to harvest this “hygroelectricity” from the air in regions that experience high humidity, such as the tropics. To jump-start this industry, Galembeck’s team is already testing metals to see which might be of most use in capturing atmospheric electricity on hygroelectric panels."

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