Now Available: Solar Panels That Can Generate Electricity Even At Night

Even at night, this device can generate electricity from solar radiation.

Solar energy has become the largest source of clean energy on a global scale. However, there is a downside: the sun is now always shining. Even at night, a new device developed in Australia claims to alleviate the problem by generating electricity from solar radiation.

Night starts rotation

University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney researchers have generated electricity from heat radiated as infrared light by a thermoradiative diode, a semiconductor device. This "nighttime" solar energy device is made from the same materials as night-vision goggles.

Despite the fact that the amount of energy produced at this moment is around one million times less than that of a solar panel, the team hopes to increase the output in the future. The findings have been reported in ACS Photonics.

"We have demonstrated unequivocally that a thermoradiative diode can generate electrical energy. Using thermal imaging cameras, it is possible to see how much radiation there is at night, but only in infrared wavelengths. We have created a gadget capable of generating electricity from the emission of infrared heat radiation "Associate Professor Ned Ekins-Daukes said in a statement that he was the project leader.

The device utilizes the solar energy that warms the globe during the day and emits infrared light back into space at night. Using a thermal imaging camera, researchers demonstrated the heat radiated from the surface at night.

One of the paper's co-authors, Dr. Phoebe Pearce, stated, "Whenever there is a flow of energy, we may convert it between other forms. Photovoltaics, the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity, is an artificial method created by humans to transform solar energy into electricity. In this regard, the thermoradiative process is analogous; we redirect infrared energy from a heated Earth into the frigid universe."

The study team from the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering believes the technique can be implemented in a variety of items, most notably battery-powered equipment. "In the future, this technology might potentially harvest this energy to eliminate the need for batteries in some gadgets or assist in their recharging. This is not a situation where traditional solar energy would be a realistic alternative," Ekins-Daukes remarked.

The team intends to draw materials and knowledge from the existing mid-infrared photodetector community in order to increase the capabilities of the device.

You wonder how solar energy could be harvested at night. Engineers constructed a device with a thermoelectric generator for this purpose. This gadget is able to generate power from the minute temperature difference between the solar cell and the surrounding air.

According to the authors of the study, this technique could effectively provide "nighttime standby lighting and electricity in off-grid and mini-grid applications, where [solar] cell deployments are on the rise."

The year 2021 was favorable for renewable energy. In reality, wind and solar energy will surpass coal in 2021 to produce 38 percent of the world's energy. A research tank estimated last month that 10% of the energy in fifty countries came from solar and wind.

With solar panels that can generate power at night, scientists seek to extend connectivity to locations where mini-grid applications are feasible. This category consists of towns and hamlets with populations too small to justify the extension of a grid.


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