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The Next Alternative Energy Source: Electricity Out of Thin Air

Illustration for article titled The Next Alternative Energy Source: Electricity Out of Thin Air

It's been coined "hygroelectricity", which means "humidity electricity", and scientists are already in the early stages of developing devices to harness it. What is "it" exactly? "It" is electrically charged water droplets hanging in the atmosphere.

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Recent experiments have shown that moisture in the air is not electrically neutral, as previously thought. Water in the atmosphere can actually accumulate electrical charge and transfer that charge to other things it comes in contact with.

This means that in the future, in areas with high humidity, hygroelectricity could be captured similarly to the way sunlight is collected in photovoltaic cells. And a similar device could even be used to help prevent lightning from striking and forming, which would help save millions in property damage, death, and injuries. But would thunderstorms still thunder? [Physorg]

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DISCUSSION

Damn it, I just had this idea the other day! Almost every time I come up with a brilliant idea, someone's already thought of it before me.