What is it about?

Solar energy technology has come a long way in the last few decades, and plays an enormous role in facilitating the urgent transition to clean energy. But there are still areas for improvement, including energy generation at night, which currently relies on costly and hazardous batteries. Using water-based heat storage and radiative thermal emitters across thermometric devices, we have recently demonstrated a new approach for continuous energy harvesting that achieved a peak power density far surpassing results from previous experimental records. The technique also features a thermoelectric generator, a solid-state device, that helps convert excess heat into electricity. The nighttime power generation was shown to reach up to 32 milliwatts — enough to power an LED light without any additional electricity source.

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Why is it important?

This work adds to an important and growing body of work aimed at advancing large-scale nighttime power generation. Collectively, the work represents enormous potential for a range of applications, such as highway lighting systems and wireless sensors in off-grid locations.

Perspectives

This article opens new opportunities for harvesting thermal energy from space that is easily accessible using cost-effective approaches.

Abdulrahman Alajlan
King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST)

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This page is a summary of: All-day thermoelectric power generation beyond 1 W m−2 regime via radiative heat exchange with space and water-based heat storage, Applied Physics Letters, August 2022, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0099708.
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