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Late-night yield

Technology

Special white paint cools houses, reflecting sunbeams back to their source. But sunlight is a coveted energy source, even when harvested in space.

A research team from the University of New South Wales has developed an electronic device that converts infrared light – e.g. from the night-time heat given off by buildings – into energy.

Think of it as a solar panel for the dark featuring materials used in night-vision goggles (these are also from Australia).

Currently, a difference of 12.5°C between heat source and ambient temperature can help produce 2.26 microwatts per ㎡.

Room for improvement – but that was also true of the first photovoltaic cells.

And there are other ways of generating energy from heat.

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