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Lede: Thirty years ago, a bacteria from the Potomac River was found to produce its own tiny wires that conduct electricity. Just last month, an even more surprising discovery was announced.
Randy Atkins: Microbiologist Derek Lovley shared those nanowires made by his bacteria with a University of Massachusetts colleague, electrical engineer Jun Yao. As a grad student in Yao’s lab played around with the bacterial wires, he noticed an electrical current…even though there wasn’t a power source. They figured out that…
Jun Yao: Essentially, we are creating electricity from the water component in the air.
Randy Atkins: Similar to lightning. The possibilities are mindboggling. Yao says the nanowires could be stacked for amplification, made in any shape, and produce completely clean power anywhere 24-7.
Jun Yao: In principle, we really don’t need any other energy source. That’s how we actually envision the future.
Randy Atkins: Yao imagines uses in electronic wearables, cell phones, and ultimately even in powering your home. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.