A long time back in 1987, microbiologist Derek Lovley and his associates from the University of Massachusetts came together and went on to isolate a strain of bacteria called 'Geobacter metallireducens' or simply ‘Geobacter’. The bacteria strain had the capability of transferring electrons through each other. In other words, it could produce electricity with the help of food waste and soil.
It appears that the same bacteria that was used back then has the ability to produce electricity by using the moisture from the air. It has been put to practice in laboratories by electrical engineer Jun Yao and microbiologist Derek Lovley at UMass Amherst. They have built a new device which is being referred to as ‘Air-gen’ or an air-powered generator, which would be able to generate electricity only through the air.
This will be backed by the electrically conductive protein nanowires that were made by using the same Geobacter that was first isolated in 1987. It is reported that the new device is a result of a 33-year pursuit of producing electricity with the help of a bacteria strain which had also been used earlier in microbial fuel cells for environmental restoration and clearing the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The role of Air-gen is to link the protein nanowires to electrodes in such a manner that it produces an electric current through the water vapour which exists in the air. As stated by Jun Yao, they are literally focussed on generating electricity out of thin air using the process. He also mentioned that it generates clean energy round the clock.
It has also been revealed by the scientists that the new technology is not only a clean source of energy, but it can also be renewed. Moreover, it is also said to be a low-cost alternative for generating energy. A bigger advantage, however, is that Air-gen also has the ability to generate electricity indoors as it does not require a lot of humidity to function, as per scientists.
(with inputs from agencies)