By now we’re all familiar with the likes of solar and wind power as alternatives to using up unsustainable fossil fuels, but what about evaporation?
That’s right. A team of scientists have successfully exploited nature’s basic cycle of moving water between land and air in order to create energy, and it’s already looking more promising than other green options we have.
And this is no small contribution - researchers at Columbia University found that lakes and reservoirs across the USA could generate 325 gigawatts, nearly 70% of what the country currently produces.
It’s already looking more promising than other green options we have
Research has previously shown that evaporation can produce energy, but the most recent study is the first that set out to discover just how much energy this method could potentially produce if replicated on a larger scale than just in the lab.
The system works by using a humidity-controlling machine that opens and closes a shutter forcing bacterial spores to expand and contract and transfer energy to a connected generator.
This is beneficial because it doesn’t require back-up batteries like solar and wind power (which are expensive and toxic to make), “evaporation comes with a natural battery,” explained lead author Ahmet-Hamdi Cavusoglu.