Traditional energy sources such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum are non-renewable. From the current proven reserves, in the next 200 years, the world will have no traditional fossil energy available, and high-speed industrial development will lead to ecological damage, such as a large number. Burning coal and gasoline produce acid toxins such as acid rain and smog that are harmful to human health. Compared with traditional energy sources, new energy sources are renewable and inexhaustible. They do not cause any environmental hazards during use.
With the depletion of fossil energy and serious global environmental problems, solar and wind energy are rapidly growing into important alternatives to renewable energy, which have been widely studied and utilized by scientists. However, due to the significant intermittent and random nature of wind power and solar power generation, it is difficult to maintain a stable and stable power supply, so it has not been widely applied to date.
Nowadays, with the extensive research and use of solar and wind energy, humanity has completely neglected another ubiquitous yet promising alternative to new energy – natural evaporation. Ozgur Sahin, a biophysicist from Columbia University in the United States, believes that natural evaporation is a huge untapped clean energy source. According to scientific predictions, only the evaporation around the United States provides enough energy to meet 70% of the nation's electricity needs.
Fifty percent of the solar energy absorbed by the earth can be used to drive the natural evaporation of the earth's surface, thus affecting the water cycle and various renewable energy sources (wind and hydropower). Natural evaporation is a powerful process occurring in nature, which can affect ecology, water resources and climate.
Professor Ozgur Sahin led the team to make "evaporators" using Bacillus subtilis spores as water-reactive materials, utilizing the contraction and expansion of organisms caused by changes in humidity. The experimental results show that the evaporator can absorb energy from the process of water evaporation when it is placed on the surface of water. The principle is similar to that of muscles producing strength during push-pull.
It should be known that water has a very large thermal storage capacity, and the electric power generated by its evaporation process meets the actual power demand. The results show that natural evaporation may be a widely used low-intermittent renewable energy, which provides a necessary way to solve the intermittent problem of renewable energy.
Evaporation is like a natural giant battery. If these evaporators are installed in all lakes and reservoirs in the United States, they can generate up to 325 gigawatts of electrical power a year, enough to meet 70% of the electricity demand in the United States.
Although this research has just started, and faces many technical problems which need to be solved urgently, this research idea has greatly broadened our horizons. Maybe one day we can get rid of our dependence on fossil energy.
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