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Industry Updates

This Is Completely Anti-Solar, But Probably Not In the Way You Think


Forget for a minute what comes to mind when you think of solar energy. So, instead of absorbing photons from the sun, a new “anti-solar” technology being studied at the University of California – Davis would actually do its work at night. For real.

The counter-intuitive thermoradiative technology works by radiating infrared light toward the extreme cold of outer space, generating electricity in the process.

“A regular solar cell generates power by absorbing sunlight, which causes a voltage to appear across the device and current to flow,” explains Jeremy Munday, a professor in the UC Davis department of electrical and computer engineering. “In these new devices, light is instead emitted and the current and voltage go in the opposite direction, but you still generate power. You have to use different materials, but the physics is the same.” 

UC Davis notes the technology could also work during the daytime, as long as it were not pointed directly at the sun, which, as our mothers told us, is not a good idea anyway.

The full study can be found here.


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