Thursday, February 13, 2014

From raisin wine to nanogenerators

When I was a child I was fascinated by raisins and the raisin wine which my grandfather made.

We had a great-uncle who would annually deliver four or eight gallons of his home-made wine - he made it in his basement with grape-presses, barrels and more. He had begun making wine during prohibition and continued for the rest of his life, blessing the family with his wine deliveries regularly. It was a heavy, dark red wine - and to a child his wine was pretty strong.

My grandfather's raisin wine, on the other, was mild and sweet, just what I liked. And it was simple, and I suppose cheap, which was important since we were quite poor. He would soak the raisins in the wine for a period of time, days or weeks, am not sure how long. I recall him draining and straining the soaking raisins, squeezing out the cloth full of raisins as if it was a giant grape from which he wanted the last drops. And what was left of the raisins then went into porridge, baking and other food.

Recently, scientists have been exploring bacterium spores which can dry up like raisins and then rehydrate, over and over many times, and in the process generate energy with high efficiency.

More significantly, this process can occur with just moist air passing over the bacterium spores, even the moist air of our breathing. And some researchers are working with mutant bacterium which have twice the energy potential; there is even the possibility of genetic engineering to increase the energy output. Is this a possible source for renewable energy and electricity on a large scale from changes in humidity?


Does our breathing, the contraction and expansion of body-mind in many forms, the drying up and rehydrating of our lungs and body, generate energy? Of course it does.

If so, do we live this energetic life of seemingly expanding-contracting, arising-passing, or hinder this life we are? From a different perspective, how can we make good use of this, facilitate it and allow it to support and nurture life?

 c) 2014 Elihu Genmyo Smith