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10 surprisingly easy sources of alternative energy

By: Bryan Nelson on Nov. 30, 2009, 11:27 a.m.
Close up of dew drops on green leaves

Photo: Dave Nakayama/Flickr [CC by 2.0]

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Evaporative energy

Inspired by plants, scientists have invented a synthetic, micro-fabricated "leaf" that can scavenge electrical power from evaporating water. Air bubbles can be pumped into the "leaves", generating electricity generated by the difference in electrical properties between water and air. This research could open the door to more grandiose ways to trap the power created from evaporation.