[Globe Technology Report journalists Lindi]Recently, a team of scientists at Tel Aviv University in Israel has discovered a new renewable energy source that uses only water and metal to generate voltage, and these batteries can be recharged using nothing but humidity in the air, according to a report in the journal Scientific Reports.
"We're trying to take advantage of a naturally occurring phenomenon - generating electricity from water," Professor Colin Price, who led the study, explained, "that electricity in a thunderstorm can only be generated from water in various stages. That is, water vapor, water droplets and ice. We are trying to tap into the potential of water droplets."
According to previous research, water droplets are able to charge metal surfaces through friction. Alternatively, certain types of metals can be charged by air humidity. The team's experiments were designed to reveal how voltages are generated between two metals when they are subjected to high humidity. When the air is dry, no voltage is generated. However, once the humidity level soared above 60 percent, voltages began to appear and then disappeared once the humidity began to drop.
"We tried to recreate electricity in the laboratory and found that different isolated metal surfaces would build up different amounts of water vapor from the atmosphere in the voltage, but only when the relative humidity of the air is above 60 percent." Price says, "This happens almost every day in Israel in the summer, and in most tropical countries as well ."
The researchers noted that experiments have shown that moist air can be used to charge the surface to about 1 volt. "This is not far from practical use."
"If an AA battery is 1.5 volts, then there could be a practical application in the future to develop a battery that can be charged from water vapor in air rechargeable batteries." Price noted, "As a renewable energy source in developing countries, this outcome could be particularly important. Because many communities in developing countries still do not have access to electricity, but the humidity has been around 60 percent."
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