Scientists at Stanford University have designed a model of an unusual solar thermal panel that is part of a complex solar power generator. The difference between this development is unprecedented efficiency, which, according to calculations, is 120 times superior to all existing analogues. Moreover, the developers claim that they are close to the level of the Carnot heat engine, which is considered the ideal thermodynamic motor.
The development is based on the long-known concept of using thermal energy, which accumulates in objects illuminated by the sun during the day. At this time, it is not consumed, since the conditions inside and outside the object are similar, but when night falls, a huge and cold airspace opens up. A significant temperature difference is created, which triggers the flow of thermal energy – you just need to catch it and use it with benefit.
A conceptual model of such a thermal panel can generate 2.2 watts per square meter. Most of the panel is made up of passive units and components; an expensive and complex thermal generator itself takes no more than 1%. This will help to reduce the cost and scale of such designs in the future to achieve the ideal level of efficiency for the entire system.
Theory remains a theory, there is no talk of creating a prototype yet. In addition, the developers recognize that the absolute values of the energy generated in this way are small. Yes, the source is passive and renewable, the cost of energy generation is symbolic, but only a couple of gadgets can be powered from it, and not an industrial facility. The technology currently requires further improvements.