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Power Technology

Harvesting Energy From Humidity 89

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-not-the-heat,-it's-the-dizzying-electric-shocks dept.
rtoz writes: Last year, MIT researchers discovered that when water droplets spontaneously jump away from superhydrophobic surfaces during condensation, they can gain electric charge in the process. Now, the same team has demonstrated that this process can generate small amounts of electricity that might be used to power electronic devices. This approach could lead to devices that can charge cellphones or other electronics using just the humidity in the air. As a side benefit, the system could also produce clean water. The device itself could be simple, consisting of a series of interleaved flat metal plates. A cube measuring about 50 centimeters on a side — about the size of a typical camping cooler — could be sufficient to fully charge a cellphone in about 12 hours. While that may seem slow, people in remote areas may have few alternatives.
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Harvesting Energy From Humidity

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  • Where? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Red Herring (47817) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @06:00PM (#47461785)

    At ~1pW/cm^2, a 50x50cm verision of this will provide about 30mWh in 12 hours. Tiny cell phone battery. Heck, a tiny lithium coin cell will provide ~150mWh.

    For contrast, a typical solar cell will give 130W/m^2 (-ish), so a 0.25m^2 solar cell will provide ~33W, while the sun shines, obviously.

    I'm not sure where exactly on Earth is sufficiently "remote", dark, moist, and unreachable that this makes sense. (Yes, I though of that, but it's really uncomfortable to fit a camping cooler there...)

  • Re:Where? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by viperidaenz (2515578) on Tuesday July 15, 2014 @07:36PM (#47462555)

    A solar panel doesn't produce much clean drinking water.
    .

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