Gathering Electricity from the Atmosphere

A majority of the energy we produce today comes from finite resources. As those resources are used up and we become increasingly concerned with the consequences of exhausting them, developing new, renewable sources of energy will be of extreme importance. At present, industries such as solar, wind and biofuel are already maturing; but those are just the tip of the iceberg and new technologies are beginning to evolve. One renewable source that could have the power to revolutionise the production of electricity is termed “atmospheric energy”.

It’s a fact that there is electricity stored in the air and clouds all around us; something that is especially evident in a thunderstorm or during the polar auroras. Capturing and controlling this electricity is a challenge, but if we could tap directly into the Earth’s own electrical field  (literally plucking electricity from the air) the potential for ‘atmospheric energy” technology to contribute to our future infrastructure is great.

One company working on atmospheric energy technology is SEFE, Inc.. But other notable research is being done by universities such as at the University of the Arts in Bremen where Dennis Siegel has created an “electromagnetic harvester” to convert electromagnetic fields into electricity to recharge a common AA battery.

There’s different scales of expectation from such projects. SEFE’s vision indicates that the technology has potential to become a major power source, but Siegel’s working prototype takes up to a day to charge a single AA battery, nonetheless the evidence stands. The electricity is there; consistently tapping into it is an issue, but one day in the near future we could be getting our energy from “thin-air”.

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