Protein Powered Device uses air moisture? Here’s a device I read about on UPI, that scientists have recently developed. According to these scientists, this new device is powered by a naturally occurring protein that uses moisture in the air to generate electricity.
How does this protein powered device work?
This protein powered device uses Air-gen technology that links electrodes with electrically conductive protein nanowire synthesized by the microbe Geobacter Sulfurreducens.
It is claimed that this enables the device to be capable of generating electricity from moisture that is naturally present in the air.
Jun Yao, an electrical engineer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst said the following in a press release.
“we are literally making electricity out of thin air. The air-gen generates clean energy 24/7.”
Yao and his colleagues say that this new technology doesn’t produce any pollution and will be cheap to assemble. But best of all, can be scaled.
Researchers recently went as far as writing in their paper on the technology called, Nature, the following:
“connecting several devices linearly scales up the voltage and current to power electronics. Out results demonstrate the feasibility of a continuous energy-harvesting strategy that is less restrictive by location or ENVIRONMENT conditions that other sustainable approaches.”
Where would this device be capable of working?
Even though this protein powered device requires moisture it still will work even if it’s not that humid. While being tested in the lab, the Air-gen device was able to generate electricity in places such as the Sahara Desert.
What makes this technology different is that it doesn’t rely on the weather to generate power, unlike solar cells and wind turbines. This enables it to work day and night, indoors or outdoors.
How was this protein powered device built?
Scientists built this unique device by placing a thin film of protein nanowires on top of an electrode. Then the researchers placed a second electrode on top, only partially covering the nanowires.
In order to generate power, the electrical conductivity and surface chemistry of the protein nanowires is excited, as the film absorbs water.
When these processes are coupled with the porosity of the film, they yield an electrical current between the two electrodes.
What are researchers hoping to do?
Researchers are hoping to eventually scale this amazing device in order to integrate Air-gen technology into smart watches, health monitors, phones and wearable electronics.
Will this eliminate the need to carry external chargers such as the Onn Portable Power Bank? We shall see!
A clue to how far we might be able to incorporate this technology might be contained in a recent statement made by Yao.
“the ultimate goal is to make large-scale systems. For example, the technology might be incorporated into wall paint that could power your home. Or, we may develop stand-alone air-powered generators that supply electricity off the grid, once we get to an industrial scale for wire production, i fully expect that we can make large systems that will make a major contribution to sustainable energy production.”
Yao’s colleague Derek Lovely, a microbiologist at Amherst, believes the technology can be commercialized. He has already developed a microbial strain capable of mass producing protein nanowire.
Here’s a statement made by Lovely:
“We turned e. Coli into a protein nanowire factory. With this new scalable process, protein nanowire supply will no longer be bottleneck to develop these applications.”
The discovery that lead to creating a protein powered device
Three decades ago, Lovley discovered Geobacter Sulfurreducens in the mud on the banks of the Potomac River.
Afterwards in the lab, Lovley and his research partners discovered the microbes ability to produce conductive protein nanowires.
It took thirty years, but the discovery has opened up a new field of electronics research.
As Yao said:
”this is just the beginning of a new era of protein-based electronics.”
What is your opinion on this?