The secret to making electricity from thin air? Nanopores. Credit: Derek Lovley/Ella Maru Studio
空気湿度からの持続的エネルギー収穫を目指したナノポーラス材料の空気現像効果の汎用化。 Generic Air-Gen Effect in Nanoporous Materials for Sustainable Energy Harvesting from Air Humidity
Xiaomeng Liu, Hongyan Gao, Lu Sun, Jun Yao
Advanced Materials Published: 05 May 2023
Air humidity is a vast, sustainable reservoir of energy that, unlike solar and wind, is continuously available. However, previously described technologies for harvesting energy from air humidity are either not continuous or require unique material synthesis or processing, which has stymied scalability and broad deployment. Here, a generic effect for continuous energy harvesting from air humidity is reported, which can be applied to a broad range of inorganic, organic, and biological materials. The common feature of these materials is that they are engineered with appropriate nanopores to allow air water to pass through and undergo dynamic adsorption–desorption exchange at the porous interface, resulting in surface charging. The top exposed interface experiences this dynamic interaction more than the bottom sealed interface in a thin-film device structure, yielding a spontaneous and sustained charging gradient for continuous electric output. Analyses of material properties and electric outputs lead to a “leaky capacitor” model that can describe how electricity is harvested and predict current behaviors consistent with experiments. Predictions from the model guide the fabrication of devices made from heterogeneous junctions of different materials to further expand the device category. The work opens a wide door for the broad exploration of sustainable electricity from air.