Solar energy has taken another step forward with research from a University of NSW (UNSW) team showing the Earth’s radiant infrared heat can be used to generate electricity, even after dark.


This article by Neil Martin, writing for UNSW Newsroom, makes the following points:
  • The breakthrough renewable-energy technology produces electricity by accessing so-called ‘night-time’ solar power.
  • A semiconductor device called a thermoradiative diode—composed of materials found in night-vision goggles—was used to generate power from the emission of infrared light.
  • The process still harnesses solar power, which hits the Earth during the day in the form of sunlight and warms up the planet. At night, however, this same energy radiates back into the vast, cold void of outer space in the form of infrared light.
Although the amount of power generated at this stage is very small, the researchers believe the result can be improved in the future.


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Source: University of NSW (UNSW)