Outside of greenhouses, there are very few upsides to humidity. It wrecks your hair, fogs up your car windows ― and according to new research, may be able to power a variety of small gadgets.
Scientists at Columbia University have developed a device that harnesses the change in size of bacterial spores as they absorb and release moisture and converts that into electricity.
Albert Schenning, a materials scientist at the Eindhoven University of Technology said:
This is one of the first experiments to show that humidity can be a source of fuel.
While the technology has so far only been used for fun experiments, like rotating a small, Ferris wheel-like device and power a toy car, they prove that a common inconvenience like humidity can be used to generate electricity.
So far, it seems that the technology will only be useful for power small devices that don’t require a lot of power, according to the scientists. But the new technology could provide a new source of very low cost energy.