Innovation That Matters

Handheld device transforms dirty air into energy


Researchers at the University of Antwerp compare the handheld device’s green ability to that of solar panels.

Researchers at the University of Antwerp and the KULeuven have developed a small handheld device that purifies dirty air while energy is recovered. The device simply needs to be exposed to light to begin functioning. On the device, a membrane separates two chambers and air is purified on one side, and hydrogen gas is produced on the other. The gas can be stored and used later as fuel.

Its creators hope to market the device targeting two major societal needs; clean air and alternative energy. Their goal is to make use of the free sunlight and, while similar to solar panel technology, the key difference is that electricity is not produced directly with the device but air is instead purified while the generated power is stored in the hydrogen gas.

Utilizing the power of natural light to create everyday solutions is an on-going trend, with recent additions to the market including a solar-powered device that gathers potable water from airborne moisture, and a mini wind turbine that charges electronic devices via USB. What is the next gap in the market for solar-powered devices to make their mark?




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