Researchers at Columbia University have created what is claimed to be the first engine driven by evaporation, which could herald a new focus for renewable energy.
According to a report in National Communications, it has the potential generate electricity.
The project was led by Ozgur Sahin, who said: “Water in nature is in constant transformation. We want to capture energy from evaporation.
“That process is very powerful, we haven’t been able to harness it until now.”
His team has created an engine used to drive a toy car and power LED lighting to show how evaporation can be used to supply power.
Evaporation was further described by Mr Sahin and his team as “a ubiquitous phenomenon in the natural environment and a dominant form of energy transfer in the Earth’s climate”.
It was also stated that although the world of biology provided “myriad examples” of evaporation adaptions, this was “rarely, if ever” seen in engineered systems.
A video of the evaporation-powered engine in action is available on the Daily Mail website.