One of the biggest problems when using solar panels as a renewable energy source is that during the night, there is no energy production. For this reason, there is a need to store the energy generated during the day, through a battery, for use at night. This system works well, however, and what if it were possible to develop panels capable of generating electricity at night?
University of California researchers create solar panel that works at night, the "anti-solar panel"
Recently researchers from the University of California, Davis, published an article in ACS Photonics magazine showing that it is possible to create a solar panel that can generate electricity at night. For this to occur, the developer must simply create a panel that works exactly the opposite way to the solar panels that work during the day. The new device is being called an "anti-solar panel".
Anti-Solar Cells: A Photovoltaic Cell That Works at Night – UC Davis https://t.co/Kf2kX6YKA0
– UCDavis News Service (@UCDavisNews) January 29, 2020
Classic solar panels have a cold temperature compared to the Sun, causing the light from the star to be absorbed and transformed into energy. Like cold space, if you point a panel on Earth relatively warm, it will radiate heat like an invisible infrared light. This emitted energy allows the generation of electricity when capturing it.
According to the article, the solar panel, at night, is capable of generating a quarter of the electricity generated by a panel normally during the day. Professor of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California, Jeremy Munday, told Inverse that both the solar panel and the anti-solar panel are essentially "heat engines". The researcher says:
"You have thermal energy coming from the Sun towards Earth and this normal solar cell captures that energy when transmitted from the Sun to Earth, so basically you need these two different temperature bodies and some way to convert that energy," said Munday. says. "What this nocturnal device does is a similar type of thing – where it?s just taking a hot body and a cold body – but now the relatively hot body is Earth and space is the cold body. How that heat is flowing from Earth to space sidereal, is choosing this and converting it into power ".
The new type of solar panel uses a structure called heat-reactive cell to be able to generate electricity, while the common solar panel uses the photovoltaic cell. While a conventional solar panel is made practically of silicon, which is a good material to capture sunlight, the anti-solar panel uses a material that can capture light with an extremely long wavelength. Jeremy is currently studying mercury alloys for use on night panels.
Jeremy and his team are currently developing prototypes to decide which one best fits the concept they developed.
This is just the beginning of an idea that can be revolutionary to obtain energy from heat exchange through panels for 24 hours. There are also other studies along the same lines as California researchers. Stanford researchers published an article in the journal Joule in November, where it was demonstrated as a thermoelectric generator capable of radiating heat to the sky and generating electricity.
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Source: Inverse, ucdavis