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Scientists turn humid air into a renewable energy source

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece from Inquirer here or enjoy below!

🗞️ Driving the news: An accidental breakthrough done by researchers from the University of Massachusetts discovered a method to generate electricity from surrounding humid air while attempting to create an air humidity sensor utilizing an array of microscopic tubes or nanowires

🔭 The context: The study’s lead author, Professor Jun Yao, said he and his team only wanted to create an air humidity sensor 
• However, they may have stumbled upon a new form of alternative energy! Believe it or not, many of our beloved everyday items were accidental discoveries
For example, Dr. Spencer Silver invented Post-it Notes when he failed to create a strong adhesive

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: Turning humid air into a renewable energy source offers a potential solution for sustainable energy generation, utilizing an abundant and widely available resource
• Scientists believe air-derived electricity or “hygroelectricity” may power homes 24/7 without additional infrastructure

⏭️ What’s next: it may take years to optimize a prototype and scale up production
• Acquiring raw materials, evaluating the cost and environmental impact, and ramping up for implementation would require time

💬 One quote: "Lots of energy is stored in water molecules in the air. That’s where we get the lightning effect during a thunderstorm. The existence of this type of energy isn’t in doubt. It’s about how we collect it" ( Prof Jun Yao, University of Massachusetts Amherst)

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