Harvesting Electricity Out of Thin Air

Science for the Public: Contemporary Science Issues & Innovations
October 24, 2023 Belmont Media Center (zoom recording)

Jun Yao, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Adjunct, Biomedical Engineering, University of Massachusetts-Amherst

The air contains an enormous amount of electricity.Clouds are full of it.But how to actually capture it for a continuous energy resource?Dr. Jun Yao and his colleagues at UMass-Amherst have created a small-scale cloud they call the “generic Air-gen effect” that produces a reliable stream of electricity that can be harvested for general use.In this interview, Dr. Yao describes how the Air-gen innovation was developed, how the electricity is harvested from the air via a special material made of protein nanowires, and when the device can be scaled up for general use.

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