Technology is working on making solar panels work during the night

22 August 2022

Researchers have developed a way to produce energy from solar panels using heat radiation, creating solar-powered energy at night as well as during the day. After recent advancements in thermal capture technology, the sun’s immense energy may soon be captured even in the dead of night.

Australian scientists have developed thermal capture technology that is able to convert infrared heat into electrical power. During the day, the sun warms up the earth's surface, but when the sun sets the heat dissipates. This is done using a power-generated tool called a thermos-radiative diode – like the technology found in night vision goggles.

During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was found that the efficiency of steam engines was dependent on the temperature differential across an engine, which led to the development of thermodynamics. This technology, using solar-powered devices without the sun, uses the same principle. The sun provides a heat source, and the Earth’s surface provides a cold absorber. This allows electricity to be produced. However, when we think about infrared emission from the Earth into space, it is now the earth that is the warm body, with the vast void of space being cold. Using the same principle of thermodynamics, it is possible to generate electricity from this temperature difference too: the emission of infrared light into space.

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