Air-Gen: A Device That Generates Electricity Out of Thin Air

Recently, Nature reports that electrical engineer Jun Yao and microbiologist Derek Lovely at UMass Amherst worked in collaboration to create a device called Air-gen or air-powered generator. It is electrically conductive protein nanowires produced by Geobacter bacteria. This device connects electrodes to protein nanowires in a way that currently generated from water vapors present in the surrounding air. They are making electricity out of thin air. Especially, the Air-gen can generate clean energy 24/7.”
It is an unusual and advanced inter-disciplinary collaboration. Geobacter microbes discovered in the mud of Potomac River three decades ago. Although, before going to UMass Amherst, Yao worked at Harvard University for years. He engineered electronic devices with silicon nanowires to see if it is possible to incorporate protein nanowires.

Air-Gen: A Device That Generates Electricity Out of Thin Air

How Air-gen works:

It just requires a thin film of protein nanowires. These wires can be 10 microns in thickness. At the bottom, it connects to electrodes. A smaller electrode that covers nanowire film is on the top. This film absorbs moisture from the air. Air-gen is a combination of electrical conductivity and surface chemistry of protein-based nanowires coupled with delicate pores in nanowires. These delicate pores in nanowires establish a condition by which current flows between two electrodes.


According to researchers, Air-gen can power small electronic devices. It is expected to take this invention to a commercial scale shortly. Also, inventors have the plan to develop a small air-gen “Patch,” which will be used in health and fitness monitors as well as in smartwatches. There will be no more requirements for heavy batteries.

In the next venture, researchers want to apply this technique to cellphones to eliminate periodic charging. According to Yao, their ultimate goal is to incorporate Air-gen to wall paints to power the houses. Moreover, they are also planning to build a stand-alone air generator to supply electricity.
Lovley’s laboratory recently developed a microbial strain that is capable of rapid and inexpensive mass production of nanowires. They turned E.coli into a protein nanowire factory hence making it a scaleable process. By this discovery, nanowire supply will be sufficient to develop these applications.
Once it gets to industrial-scale production, it can make large systems contributing to sustainable energy production. Indeed, it is the beginning of a new era as a laboratory has also developed many other applications using protein nanowires.

Benefits of Air-gen:

  • This technology is a low cost, renewable, and non-polluting.
  • It can work in areas of high humidity even in the Sahara Desert
  • It has an advantage over solar and wind energy as it does not depend on sunlight and wind
  • This device can also work indoors
  • Most sustainable energy production
For getting more information, you may visit: Hootrabbit 

Post a Comment