The thermoradiative diode – an invention to extract energy from thermal radiation

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Newly developed technology similar to night-vision goggles may have just made solar power at night a real possibility. Scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science and the University of New South Wales (UNSW Sydney) developed a device capable of generating electricity from thermal radiation. It takes the infrared heat. The research team’s device is called a . Practically, it’s “the inverse of a conventional solar cell.” With a temperature differential of just 12.5 °C between day and night, the team managed to measure a peak thermoradiative electrical power density of 2.26 mW per square meter, with an estimated radiative efficiency of 1.8 percent. The successful test put together by the team only produced a very small amount of energy (about 0.001% of a solar cell). “We do not yet have the miracle material that will make the an everyday reality, but we made a proof of principle and are eager to see how much we can improve on this result in the coming years,” research leader Exciton Science Associate Investigator Nicholas Ekins-Daukes explained in a media release. The theory says it is possible for this technology to ultimately produce about 1/10th of the power of a solar cell.”

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That could include harvesting energy from industrial waste heat, or potentially even creating bionic devices that run off the body’s own heat. That could include harvesting energy from industrial waste heat, or potentially even creating bionic devices that run off the body’s own heat.