Could New Green Tech Help Us Pull Power from Thin Air?

Nature |

For years, talk about finding ways to help make electricity possible without having an environmental impact has been ongoing. We’ve found various solutions, such as solar energy, but each of these cost money to make and resources that have an environmental impact.


However, with the development of some very interesting new possibilities, this could soon change.

Take the development happening over at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Electrical engineering experts have paired with microbiologists to come up with ways to help them take electricity from thin air, known as ‘Air Gen’, this is an air-powered generator. 

It uses electrically conductive protein nanowires that are produced by the microbe Geobacter. If used properly, this would be able to connect up electrodes from the air to protein nanowires. 

This would then make sure that electricity is being generated simply by using the water vapor that is naturally present. By quite literally using our atmosphere to power everything we do, we could finally have the solution that has long been desired.

Making Electricity Out of Thin Air

With the need to combat climate change with sustainable energy solutions, this is absolutely essential research. The finding was laid out in the Nature journal, showing us what is happening.

Electrical engineer Jun Yao and microbiologist Derek Lovley have worked together to make this a reality. They were able to make it work well, with Yao saying: "We are literally making electricity out of thin air. The Air-gen generates clean energy 24/7."

Lovley concurred, saying: "It's the most amazing and exciting application of protein nanowires yet."

A Transformative Discovery

This is vital information and a key part of helping us hopefully fight back against the damage done to the planet so far. This device is incredibly powerful, does not pollute anything, and is entirely low-cost. 


It’s the perfect solution for those who want to generate power, even in areas with low humidity like a desert region. It’s among the best forms of renewable energy we’ve come up with so far, perhaps even eclipsing the use of solar and wind energy.

Since it does not need anything other than an atmosphere to work with, we have a near-limitless number of ways to run this project. It’s what we need if we want to get serious about combatting climate change. For now, though, the device is small enough to power small electrical devices. 

With the aim to move into large-scale commercial production, though, this will ensure that we can power things like electronic wearables with complete ease. It would kill off the need for batteries in things like smartwatches and even cell-phones over time.

This is still in the early phases of development, but it’s hugely exciting. If this can even fulfill a fraction of its potential, it could be the game-changer that we need to make renewable energy a genuine reality moving forward. 

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Noah Jones

I spent most of my earlier days writing at local Newspapers in L.A. I'm a graduate of UCLA having studied Journalism and Creative Writing, earning two different degrees in one. So have fun reading and feel free to write.