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Scientists hope to collect electricity from the air

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August 25, 2010

'Hygroelectric' collectors could someday harness atmospheric electricity

'Hygroelectric' collectors could someday harness atmospheric electricity

Nikola Tesla once dreamed of being able to harness electricity from the air. Now, research being conducted at Brazil’s University of Campinas (UC) is indicating that such a scenario may indeed become a reality. Professor Fernando Galembeck, a UC chemist, is leading the study into the ways in which electricity builds up and spreads in the atmosphere, and how it could be collected. “Our research could pave the way for turning electricity from the atmosphere into an alternative energy source for the future," he stated. "Just as solar energy could free some households from paying electric bills, this promising new energy source could have a similar effect.”

Scientists once believed that water droplets in the atmosphere were electrically neutral, even after having come into contact with charged dust particles. Galembeck and his UC team, however, have shown that this isn’t the case. In a lab experiment, they noted that tiny particles of silica and aluminum phosphate became negatively and positively charged (respectively) when circulated in highly-humid air. “This was clear evidence that water in the atmosphere can accumulate electrical charges and transfer them to other materials it comes into contact with,” Galembeck explained. “We are calling this 'hygroelectricity,' meaning 'humidity electricity'.”

He now pictures collectors, not unlike solar cells, that could someday collect and distribute hygroelectricity from the air. Just as solar cells work best in sunny places, his collectors would do best in humid parts of the world. He even believes it’s possible that by diminishing the electrical charge in the air, his collectors could prevent lightning, especially if mounted on top of tall buildings. His team is currently experimenting with different metals, to find out which would work best for capturing atmospheric electricity and preventing lightning strikes.

"These are fascinating ideas that new studies by ourselves and by other scientific teams suggest are now possible," he said. "We certainly have a long way to go. But the benefits in the long range of harnessing hygroelectricity could be substantial."

A report on Galembeck’s research was presented this week at the 240th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
11 Comments

With mainstream admissions along these lines, why is it that modern science has such a hard time imagining how an electromagnetic setup could go into "overunity", harnessing powers such as the one described above?

Sterling Allan
26th August, 2010 @ 07:53 am PDT

Overunity??? This is just another way of plugging into the sea of energy we live in... no magic need apply...

This is more akin to putting a water wheel in a river! We live in an electric solar system with Sal as the source... all we need to do is tap it!

Fetcher
26th August, 2010 @ 09:49 pm PDT

This is exciting future for tapping natural energy. wonder if the "Chi" theory can be expanded here too!

Leong Hee Chan
26th August, 2010 @ 10:00 pm PDT

It's wrong to say Tesla "once dreamed of being able to harness electricity from the air"; he wasn't dreaming when he got the funding to build Wardenclyffe tower over 100 years ago! Scientists are now catching up to him!

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wardenclyffe_Tower

Consultium
27th August, 2010 @ 12:25 am PDT

Nikola Tesla was tapping into something far more powerful (the quantum foam) than the energy referenced. But the PTB are keeping that for their exclusive use. Tesla was one of the few super geniuses, his mind was his laboratory.

Dean Mindock
27th August, 2010 @ 02:45 pm PDT

CONSUTIUM: I may be wrong, but, Wardenclyffe was to be an energy transmitter ulitizing "Earth reasonating points".

Burnerjack
27th August, 2010 @ 02:54 pm PDT

The question is not how ethereal this is but why it has taken so long to get anywhere with it.

Tesla definitely made things happen that are not happening now in any real way and haven't happened since.

I want to know also:

why are we still using gasoline anyway other than greed and laziness?

Griffin
31st August, 2010 @ 05:05 pm PDT

With mainline admissions like this its hard to see we have made any basic progress since the first arrow took flight! Just the idea- metalic compounds and crystals can accumulate charge even with water vapors around. Just like battery electrolyte does not guarantee grounding and discharge? This just in: charge separation is more widespread than earlier "imagined."

This is not zero point since it relies upon the phenomenal world and the 10,000 things in it, to follow the Taoists' and Chi theorists' wordings. Zero point is before the TaiChi separates into polars, its the epty field of all possible occurences/stuff.

And that does have a lot to say about Chi. But that also is multi layered, primal and epiphenomenal both.

Mr Leong might enjoy an introduction to Willhelm Reich on bioenergetics ( chi, zero state etc)or John Keeley for a differrent perspeective that Tesla's on harnessing via mechanisms.

People get so worked over HAARP and sinister use of tesla tech. Yet the same tech, his apps....same issues different emotional reaction. Very strange. Aren't we glad that we did not use Schuman Resonance to create a high gauss standing field and thus negate any market for batteries!!!!!!!!Or are cell towers the only bad thing on the dc to daylight spectrum?

Facebook User
6th September, 2010 @ 09:49 am PDT

I hope the scientists in question remember that the only effect that makes water is lightning forcing the two molecules to blend to become HOH. Take away the lightning and we may have some problems with 'fresh' water becoming more and more contaminated with salts over time. May not happen overnight, but it will happen.

Robbity
16th September, 2010 @ 11:30 pm PDT

There's something I read years ago about stringing up a long wire in the air, a spark gap (could use something like an engine's spark plug) and a really good earth ground to get a trickle of electricity. There'd have to be some other components in it too, possibly including a large capacitor. IIRC it was supposed to be able to trickle charge a lead acid car battery.

There's been so much stuff over the years that's been poo-poohed as "pseudoscience" without any serious attempt at genuine scientific investigation - rather "investigations" specifically designed to ensure failure, by people with a vested interest in there not being any competition.

Do a proper job and see what can be discovered. That's what real science is. That's how the huge advance in technology came about throughout the 18th through mid 20th centuries. Pure scientific investigation almost solely for the sake of the expansion of knowledge.

Facebook User
4th November, 2010 @ 10:49 pm PDT

I hope that they find a way to gather static from air, it would be great to have such a collector on an airship, to recover some of the energy spent pushing it through the air. Can you imagine air travel powered by the air itself? It would probably be pretty wimpy. I believe that all those who believe in zero point energy and energy in a vacuum should test it out by building Leydon jars and what every types of home garage collectors they can imagine to prove it exists or prove it doesn't. High voltage static would power the ion lifters seen on Youtube.com and if that worked, why not mount them on their side to propel the airship forward?

Ronald Wade Cooper
16th November, 2010 @ 09:59 pm PST
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