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Scientists Discover Water Evaporation Is Key Green Energy Source

By Brian Spaen

Evaporation could soon join our growing list of renewable energy sources. And in no small way: In fact, new research from Columbia University suggests that energy generated from water evaporation could power a large portion of the United States. If proven to work on such a large scale, it could be a natural alternative that can we can count on any time of the day. That's right: Unlike the weather-related concerns many have with solar power, harvesting energy from water evaporation won't necessarily be damped by cloudy days.

Based on lab data, Columbia University’s scientists believe that a capacity of 325 gigawatts are sitting in America’s lakes and reservoirs right now in the form of evaporation. For perspective, that’s enough power to give 70 percent of the continental US electricity. They’ve been able to develop an engine that controls humidity with a shutter that opens and closes. This makes bacterial spores bigger and smaller, and contractions can power a generator that creates the electricity.

Plenty of benefits exist for this evaporation source over other alternative sources. From the start, both sun and wind-powered energy can be limited. As we all know,  the sun isn’t able to reach all areas, is only available during the day, and clouds can hamper efficiency from solar panels. Wind is similar in reliability and location. And of course, both need to be optimized with battery storage.