Solar power is a great source of energy, but it can be only be utilized in the daytime. What do you do when the sun sets and it gets dark? Batteries can be used to provide energy throughout the night or maybe a diesel generator. Scientists have now come up with another renewable source of energy that can generate power even at night.
The researchers at Harvard School of Engineering are in the midst of developing a device that will derive energy from the infrared emissions emitted by the earth. The earth is warmer than the vacuum it lies in because the sun heats it. Studies have been made that claim this heat imbalance can be conveyed into direct current or DC power, which would lead to the generation of increased amounts of energy.
The principle researchers told the press that initially it is a little difficult to comprehend that DC power can be produced by infrared light. He added that if the concept is thought through, it does make sense but there are some challenges involved. Studying things at the nanoscale can address all these problems and lead to successful deployment of such a device.
The middle infrared region has not been given a lot of attention in researches, probably because it is difficult to work with. However, the spectrum of this region is quite large. The team of scientists said that the device they develop will be based on this spectrum. Traditional photovoltaic panels generate energy by absorbing visible light, but the new device will produce energy by remitting infrared light.
A PhD professional stated that photovoltaic is a viable concept because energy can be collected from the sun. When it comes to infrared, there is not much surety and even if energy could be generated, it may not be possible to determine the amount of power produced.
According to the analysis made by the research team, power can be generated, but the amounts will not be that great. With this is mind, they have proposed that the device could be used in conjunction with a solar cell. The solar panel would cater to energy needs during the day and at night it would be the infrared device.
Two models have been proposed for this device. The first has a functioning similar to the solar thermal generator and the second is based on a photovoltaic panel.