New technique pulls electricity straight out of thin air

Lightning storms show us that there's plenty of electricity up there in the clouds, and scientists have been trying to harness it since Ben Franklin's famous kite experiment.

Now there may be a breakthrough. Research presented today at he annual meeting of the American Chemical Society has defined how atmospheric water vapor becomes electrically charged, and this could lead to devices that can create electricity from the air itself.

If successful, this would validate a hypothesis presented by Nikola Tesla in 1892 when he said "Ere many generations pass, our machinery will be driven by a power obtainable at any point of the universe." I'm just not sure if he realized it would take another 118 years for the world to catch up.

Eureka Alert, via Pop Sci

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