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Harvesting renewable energy from Earth’s mid-infrared emissions

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 17:14
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(Before It's News)

Tim writes,

Enjoy. When I first came across this paper there was a lot of chuckling, can’t be serious, surely?

Well, I can understand someone wanting to quantify the effect, show the laws, make it a warning for any fools who need saving from themselves, ain’t engineers. I’m afraid this paper goes too far off the deep end, hints at meant seriously. Your opinion might differ.

Published PNAS

Harvesting renewable energy from Earth’s mid-infrared emissions
Steven J. Byrnes, Romain Blanchard, and Federico Capasso, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138
Contributed by Federico Capasso, February 3, 2014 (sent for review November 1, 2013)

It is possible to harvest energy from Earth’s thermal infrared emis-
sion into outer space. We calculate the thermodynamic limit for
the amount of power available, and as a case study, we plot how
this limit varies daily and seasonally in a location in Oklahoma.We
discuss two possible ways to make such an emissive energy har-
vester (EEH): A thermal EEH (analogous to solar thermal power
generation) and an optoelectronic EEH (analogous to photovoltaic
power generation). For the latter, we propose using an infrared-
frequency rectifying antenna, and we discuss its operating princi-
ples, efficiency limits, system design considerations, and possible
technological implementations.
http://www.pnas.org/content/111/11/3927.full.pdf

Actual merit? Works at night.

On a good day with a following wind I somewhat doubt if one Watt sq metre is feasible. So lets see, boil my kettle, going to need

more than 3 sq kilometres, given losses, say at least 4.

The last paragraph starts

In conclusion, the energy flow from Earth to outer space
provides a hitherto neglected opportunity to generate a poten-
tially enormous amount of renewable energy.

I’ll leave any shredding or plaudits to readers.

Post by Tim.

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