Anti-solar cells, photovoltaics that work even at night

Anti solar cells: at the moment they generate a night power of 50mW / m2

For years we have been hearing about photovoltaic and of renewable energies. The goal is to look to the future in this direction and perspective. For this reason, for some time now, attempts have been made to encourage industries and individuals to install solar panels and photovoltaic systems.

In light of the much debated energy issue that is being experienced, in Italy and in the world, the issue becomes even more topical, urgent and pressing. Meanwhile, the technology does not stand still, as well as studies and research.

In this regard, recent news is that on the so-called that anti solari. It might seem like a typo or a contradiction in terms. But it is none of that. The anti solar cells they would be able to generate energy from the sun during the day and then reverse the operation during the night so as to continue producing electricity.

The concept, which may seem odd, is actually under study. The term anti-solar was devised in 2020 by a group of Stanford scientists. The idea behind the study is to integrate traditional photovoltaic technology to a thermoelectric generator (TEG)based on nighttime radiative cooling.

Thanks to this phenomenon, a body – being in specific conditions of clear skies and reduced humidity – would be able to expel significant quantities of heat into deep space in the form of infrared light. This heat flow can then be used to generate electricity through the TEGs.

In fact, even the Photovoltaic cells, during the night, they continue to radiate thermal energy to the sky, reaching temperatures a little lower than that of the surrounding air. By integrating the panels with a thermoelectric module, it will therefore be possible to generate voltage (and consequently current) from the temperature gradient created between the cell and the air.

Advances in this technology come from Stanford University. A group of engineers, including researcher Shanhui Fan, who had already participated in the study in 2020 and had also created a new prototype of anti solar cells.
In the current state of studies, the Stanford device only manages to deliver 50 mW / mq.

The ultimate goal would be to be able to generate at least 1 watt per square meter.

Shanhui Fan is convinced that there is ample room for improvement. As he himself specified, none of the components involved in the technological process were designed for that specific purpose. This means that, if each component were designed precisely to achieve this purpose, performance could easily increase.

Source: by

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