The material that generates electricity from ambient humidity

This is curious information and it can have many applications. Some researchers from the University of Singapore have developed a material that is capable of generating electricity using humidity from the environment, and from what I have seen in the explanatory video it does not seem that it is very expensive to obtain this material.

In effect, they start from cloth made of polyester and wool pulp, which they impregnate with an ink of carbon nano-particles. They cut that fabric into strips, and each strip is placed on one of its faces with a hygroscopic ionic gel made with sea salt (and other substances) that is capable of absorbing water up to 6 times its weight. And that’s the wet part of the cloth.

The other part not treated with gel is the dry part, and in the presence of moisture the cloth is capable of providing a voltage of more than 0.6 Volts, and of producing a current. Placing several parallel cloths of a few centimeters in length, they have achieved a voltage of 1.9 V, capable of powering an electric clock.

A video can be seen at: https://youtu.be/8WOh-trN9cw

As it is a cloth, it can take any shape (see the paper bird in the photo above), so it could be adapted to almost any circumstance, and this greatly facilitates possible future applications.

This cloth that works like a battery has been operational for more than 100 hours in a humid environment, and since humidity exists in almost all environments, in some places more than in others, it could have many applications where it is required low intensity currents, as is the case in medical applications.

This is exciting news, and I’m sure the researchers have received plenty of calls asking about their work. I am clear that they should delve deeper into it to find out what humidity levels it works between, how much energy it is capable of providing and for how long it does, and so.

The imagination of researchers never ceases to amaze me, but it is clear to me that to reach these results they have dedicated a lot of effort for a long time, without knowing if the results were going to be found just around the corner or not.

I wish these researchers all the best, and hoping they enjoy their success.

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Amador Palacios

I am an electronic engineer with more than 40 years working in industry. I like to reflect on Technological and Social issues