We know how to harness the power of the sun with solar panels. Now scientists are harnessing the power of the night.
They used a thermoelectric generator. Basically, at night, the air temp is cooler than the surface where the earth has been collecting warm sunlight. That temperature difference generated 25 milliwatts of power per square meter. Enough to light a tiny Christmas bulb. That’s a fraction of a solar panel which produces 100 watts (not milliwatts) per square meter.
It’s not much, but it could power weather stations in remote locations, be backup in a power failure, or allow for power to be generated in places where light doesn’t reach for months at a time.
No, it’s not using the light of the stars, but it is using the cooler night air. Who knows where this technology might lead?
If we find ways to use less electricity while also ways to generate it more efficiently in the dark, we might meet in the middle where we can power our world with little carbon footprint.