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2023 JUL 29

Preliminary   > Economic Development   >   Indian Economy and Issues   >   Energy

Why in news?

  • Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a technology called hygroelectricity.

About Hygroelectricity:

  • Hygroelectricity generates electricity from humid air.
  • This concept, explored by Nikola Tesla, has been a subject of scientific inquiry for decades and is now closer to becoming a reality. The technology utilizes a device with two electrodes and a thin layer of material filled with nanopores.

How it works?

  • As the water molecules move from an upper chamber to a lower chamber, they interact with the edges of the nanopores, leading to the buildup of electric charge imbalances between the chambers.
  • This process effectively transforms the device into a miniature battery, generating continuous electricity.
  • Researchers compare the device to a small-scale, man-made cloud that converts air humidity into usable electricity.
  • Its potential applications include powering miniature computers, sensors, and providing sustainable energy sources for remote locations.
  • Also it is versatile; applicable to a range of materials with the necessary nanopores.
  • Unlike solar and wind energy, air humidity is continuously available, making it a sustainable reservoir of energy.

Add ons:

  • Currently, the device can produce electricity equivalent to only a fraction of a volt, making scaling up for practical energy demands a challenge.
  • More data on power output and cost-effectiveness is needed for widespread adoption of this revolutionary energy source.


The term Hygroelectricity’ refers to electricity generated from

(a) Running water

(b) Humid air

(b) Temperature differences in ocean waters

(d) Tides