Generating renewable energy must be one of the coolest things we do as a species.
Finding ways to draw endless power from what is already happening naturally around us is the biggest issue. Solar energy is one of the most common ways to generate renewable energy, especially for ordinary consumers. Many residential homes have their own solar panels and you can even buy panels for camping and other relatively cheap activities nowadays.
However, solar energy has been criticized by some and one of the complaints I often hear is that it does not work at night. It may be a point of contention with batteries and other renewable sources working in tandem, but it is still technically true.
Well, I’d like to introduce you to all these weird solar panels that really work at night.
According to the New Atlas, a team from the University of New South Wales has been able to generate energy from what is essentially an inverted solar cell at night. The way it works is by using the infrared light that the Earth radiates at night, after a hard day in which it absorbed all that solar energy.
One step ahead
The researchers used a device called a heat-emitting diode, which absorbs radiated energy from a heat source, such as the Earth, into a cooler place, such as the cold night air, and turns the difference between the two into electricity.
In theory, these inverted solar panels can be used to gather energy from virtually anything that emits light. At any time, heat is transferred from a warm place to a cold place, which is practically always according to thermodynamics. The downside is that there really isn’t much power – yet.
This is the first time that the energy absorbed in this way reaches even measurable amounts, and this measurement is very small, although the team believes that it will be possible to generate about 1/10 of the power that a solar cell receives from the sun. . It doesn’t seem like much, but since it could generate energy from almost anything, it could actually gather.