The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Yao’s Pioneering Research Receives International Acclaim in Media

Graphic image of a thin film of protein nanowires generating electricity from atmospheric humidity

There is international news coverage of a device that uses a natural protein to create electricity from moisture in the air, a device developed by Jun Yao of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and Derek Lovely of the Microbiology Department. They say their new technology could have significant implications in addressing issues of renewable energy, climate change, and medicine. Their “Air-gen,” or air-powered generator, incorporates electrically conductive protein nanowires produced by the microbe Geobacter and connects to electrodes in such a way that electrical current is generated from the water vapor naturally present in the atmosphere. So far, the breakthrough has been reported internationally in more than 45 media outlets, including: Science, The Science Times, The Engineer [U.K.], Market Insider, Popular Science, Cosmos, Environmental Journal, Digital Information World, The Weather Channel, Good News Network, EcoWatch,, Nanowerk, The Naked Scientists [BBC], News Office release.