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[flagged] Anti-Solar Panels May Generate Power at Night Soon (robologiclab.com)
14 points by elorant 14 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 9 comments

This link is content-poor blogspam about something not particularly noteworthy from a year ago. Please flag it.

Here is the (January 2020) UC Davis press release: https://www.ucdavis.edu/news/anti-solar-cells-photovoltaic-c...

And here is the paper: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acsphotonics.9b00679

This article doesn't appear to have been written by a native English speaker, so it feels like reading a Google Translate version of a news article.

But if you're curious about the technology, here's a 2019 paper that details how it works:


> We demonstrate a low-cost, modular mechanism of renewably generating meaningful amounts of electricity at night by harnessing the cold darkness of space. We use a passive cooling mechanism known as radiative sky cooling to maintain the cold side of a thermoelectric generator several degrees below ambient. The surrounding air heats the warm side of the thermoelectric generator, with the ensuing temperature difference converted into usable electricity.

That description makes it sound like it's going to be pitifully weak per square meter. First blush is that it's going to be too expensive and weak to be practical for general use. There might be some edge cases like distributed sensors were it could make sense, but even then a battery backed solar install is going to blow it away unless they've figured out a way to manufacture it almost for free.

Meaningful as an effect. Not as energy generation solution. The probably optimistic future estimation of 0.5W/m^2 doesn't look too great to me. There is only so much energy to be gathered from delta of a few degrees...

I wonder if this would ever reach parity during lifecycle of energy input to output.

Then, increase it. Mr. Carnot is there for your help :)

I haven't read the paper yet (and forgive me if what I'm about to describe is exactly what this is).

It'd be cool if you could harness changes in temperature by filling some large vat with a liquid that can freeze at relatively low temperatures and some sort of device that, when moved by the shifting of the water generates electricity.

So if something is like

After freezing it might look like

The distance the objects move could generate electricity, and then as it returns back to its original position as the ice cools it would also generate electricity, in other words, electricity as a result of freezing and thawing! And while we're basically talking science fiction, if said vat were filled with water you could basically get water storage for free!

If they've made the requisite advancements in thermo-electric generator efficiency to make this even remotely useful, then there would be countless other applications for such TEGs that would be a much better use of those resources.

I myself been thinking, is it possible for the anti-stokes shift to take away more energy, than is spent on generating the original photon.

An idea for a cool glowy cooler

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