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Evaporation Engines Eyed as Renewable Energy Source

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By    |   Wednesday, 27 September 2017 02:11 PM

Evaporation engines could rival other renewable energy sources in meeting our energy needs, or so scientists believe.

Researchers believe they can harness energy from evaporation of U.S. lakes and reservoirs to generate up to 70 percent of the power currently produced by the nation, Popular Science reported.

A new study led by Ahmet-Hamdi Cavusoglu, a graduate student at Columbia University, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications noted that "natural evaporation from open water surfaces could provide power densities comparable to current wind and solar technologies while cutting evaporative water losses by nearly half."

The study further states that "water's large heat capacity is sufficient to control power output by storing excess energy when demand is low, thus reducing intermittency and improving reliability."

The research paper highlights the importance for technology to be further developed to convert energy from evaporation, something which the study's co-author Ozgur Sahin has been working on for years.

The associate professor of biological sciences and physics at Columbia University has been exploring an evaporation engine, Technology Review reported.

In a study published in 2015, Sahin referred to a device making use of bacterial spores deposited on micrometer-thick plastic films to enhance water transport kinetics in evaporation-driven macroscopic systems.

The spores, which are placed on a shutter, expand when exposed to moisture, and contract when exposed to low humidity.

This movement causes the shutter to open and close in a cyclic manner and, when connected to a generator, the device is able to produce electricity.

In addition to offering a viable renewable energy option, the technology could save water by conserving the water evaporating from lakes and reservoirs into the atmosphere, which amounts around 25 trillion gallons annually.

"We have the technology to harness energy from wind, water and the sun, but evaporation is just as powerful," Sahin said, per Popular Science.

"We can now put a number on its potential."

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Evaporation engines could rival other renewable energy sources in meeting our energy needs, or so scientists believe.
evaporation, engines, renewable, energy
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2017-11-27
Wednesday, 27 September 2017 02:11 PM
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