Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Energy From Evaporation

PostedNovember 19, 2017

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LEDE: Researchers are working on a potential new renewable energy source…that could do double-duty, by conserving water too.

Randy Atkins:  The goal is to harvest the power from water evaporation. To do that, Pierre Gentine and colleagues at Columbia University are sandwiching water-absorbing bacterial spores between plates of material that...

Pierre Gentine: …expand and contract depending on how much moisture you have in the air. That can basically be transformed into a way to generate power.

Randy Atkins: Gentine says the plates could be spread out on bodies of water, like a lake, and…

Pierre Gentine:  …since you’re regulating evaporation, you would actually reduce the amount of evaporation from the lake.

Randy Atkins: So it could conserve water, and it would actually work best in dry climates. Gentine says the technique has the potential to generate 70-percent of current US electricity use…but still needs many years of engineering work.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.