Harvest Energy from Earth’s Infrared Emissions


"We’re talking about the use of physics at the nanoscale for a completely new application," says Federico Capasso, who proposes capturing planetary emissions of infrared light.

“We’re talking about the use of physics at the nanoscale for a completely new application,” says Federico Capasso, who proposes capturing planetary emissions of infrared light.

Infrared: A Renewable Energy Source? Infrared energy emitted from the Earth into space may be potentially harnessed as a renewable energy source in the future.

Physicists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) proposed a device that would resemble a photovoltaic solar panel. But instead of capturing incoming visible light, it would generate electric power by harvesting energy from Earth’s infrared emissions into outer space.

The researchers proposed two possible designs (one macro, one nano) for an emissive energy harvester (EEH) to harness such infrared emissions.

The first design, a thermal EEH, would generate electricity by drawing the heat of surface ambient air through a cold plate that could radiate the energy into the atmosphere, with the flow of heat generating work.

Keeping the cold plate cooler than the ambient temperature would be difficult, but this device illustrates the general principle: differences in temperature generate work, the researchers said.

“The key is in these beautiful circuit diagrams,” says Capasso. The three diode-resistor generator circuits shown have different temperature inputs. A circuit at thermal equilibrium (A) generates no current; (B) is a conventional rectifier circuit. The Harvard team proposes a twist—shown in (C).

“The key is in these beautiful circuit diagrams,” says Capasso. The three diode-resistor generator circuits shown have different temperature inputs. A circuit at thermal equilibrium (A) generates no current; (B) is a conventional rectifier circuit. The Harvard team proposes a twist—shown in (C).

The alternative design uses rectifying antennas, or rectennas, warmed by ambient air as part of a circuit that generates direct current using temperature differences between electrical components.

“Today’s technology is not sufficient to make an efficient, cost-effective, optoelectronic EEH, but we have described a number of paths that could plausibly lead there over time,” the researchers wrote.

“Now that we understand the constraints and specifications we are in a good position to work on engineering a solution.”

Read more:

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/846070.shtml#.UxVqIeOSxHM

http://harvardmagazine.com/2014/03/infared-as-a-renewable-energy-source

http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2014/03/03/the-extremely-strange-solar-energy-technology-youd-be-stupid-to-ignore/

http://phys.org/news/2014-03-physicists-device-capture-energy-earth.html#jCp

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About Georges Abi-Aad

CEO, electronic engineer with MBA in marketing. Multicultural; French citizen born in Lebanon working in the Middle East and fluent in French, English and Arabic. I have more than 30 years of proven experience in the Middle East with European know how. I am good in reorganization and in Global strategic management business. I am a dependable leader with an open approach in working with people, forging a strong team of professionals dedicated to the Company and its clientele. Perseverance is my key word. Married to Carole and having 2 children: Joy-Joelle and Antoine (Joyante!).
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