“I saw that when the nanowires were brought into contact with electrodes in a certain way, the devices produced a current. I discovered that exposure to humidity was essential and that the protein nanowires absorbed water and produced electricity. ”
Sustainable, cheap and renewable energy
Coincidentally, doctoral student Xiaomeng Liu discovered that nanowires, which consist of a protein produced by the Geobacter bacteria, can generate electricity. American researchers have now succeeded in developing a device to generate sustainable, cheaper and renewable energy in this way. The Air gene device requires only a thin film of protein nanowires less than 10 microns thick. "We literally make electricity from nothing but air, 24 hours a day, seven days a week," it sounds.
Soon for smartphones?
The challenge is to develop large-scale systems in the future that use this principle to generate electricity. "As soon as we can produce the nanowires on an industrial scale, I firmly expect to be able to make large systems that will make a significant contribution to the production of renewable energy," said one of the researchers at the University of Massachusetts. Current applications are limited to small electronics. But perhaps an “Air gene” will soon be on the market for smartphones, so that we no longer have to charge it.
© foto VRT