Solar panels generate electricity during the day by absorbing energy from the sun. However when the day turns to night, they become quite useless. However, thanks to the work of Jeremy Munday, a professor in electrical and computer engineering over at the University of California – Davis, he might have found a way to make solar panels just as useful even in the dark.

The basics of how solar panels work is that it takes the heat generated by the sun to create energy. However, with Munday’s proposal, he suggests using thermodiative cells that can heat up while pointing at the night sky, a cooler object. In turn, the cells will radiate heat as infrared light, which is similar in concept to solar panels, except in reverse.

According to Munday, “A regular solar cell generates power by absorbing sunlight, which causes a voltage to appear across the device and for current to flow. 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.”

That being said, Munday’s invention would still need to rely on fossil fuels to heat up, but it would be done so in a more sustainable way where they can rely on heat generated from industrial processes, instead of letting them go to waste. This can result in balanced carbon emissions.

However, there is still quite a bit of work left to be done. In its current prototype phase, Munday’s creation can only produce 50 watts of electricity per square meter, which is 25% of what more traditional solar panels generate during the day.

Filed in Green. Read more about and . Source: edition.cnn

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