MIT designing solar cells that use heat instead of light

A team of researchers at MIT have come up with a new twist on an old idea – generating electricity from heat.  But instead of using boilers and turbines, they’re using specialized solar cells that use the heat to create infrared light at a specific frequency best suited to the cell.  While thermal photovoltaic (PV) cells have been around for a while, the MIT team took the thermal PV concept and added a nanotech sized layer of tungsten to the front of the cell – when the tungsten is heated, it emits infrared light that is then used by the cell to create electricity. The cell is tuned to be most efficient at the exact wavelength of infrared light that the tungsten emits.

thermal PV system designed by MIT
thermal PV system designed by MIT
The new cells are far more efficient than older thermal PV cells, so much so that MIT feels that they will be able to be used in all sorts of devices to create electricity.  What they’re focusing on now is developing tiny silicon micro-reactors to generate electricity. They’ve made a button sized micro-reactor fueled by butane that runs three times longer than a lithium-ion battery of the same weight. It can be recharged instantly just by adding a tiny cartridge of fresh fuel.  They’ve also come up with another device that’s powered by a radioisotope that slowly produces heat from radioactive decay – it could last 30 years without refueling or servicing.

Looking forward, all sorts of efficiencies are possible.  Since MIT feels that these cells would ultimately be fairly inexpensive (tungsten is a pretty common material), these cells could be used to generate electricity from almost anything that generates heat – a computer, a TV, your clothes dryer, etc).  In other words, you’d be recycling the electricity that right now is wasted as heat back into electricity to power the device.

Nanoscale sized holes used in MIT thermal PV cell
MIT thermal PV cell. Nanoscopice sized holes absorb heat and then radiate wavelenghts that the cell uses to convert into electricity


52 thoughts on “MIT designing solar cells that use heat instead of light

  1. “The new cells are far more efficient than older thermal PV cells”

    Nice statement but where are the numbers ?

  2. I hear you. The original MIT article that the Science Daily article was based on doesn’t have any numbers but I did find this paragraph –

    “PV cells are solid-state electricity generators—and they needn’t always run on sunlight. Half a century ago, researchers developed thermophotovoltaics (TPV), an approach that couples a PV diode (the active part of a solar cell) with any source of heat. In a TPV system, a burning hydrocarbon, for example, heats up a solid piece of material called the thermal emitter; the thermal emitter radiates heat and light onto the PV diode; and the PV diode generates electricity. Because the thermal emitter is not as hot as the sun is, its radiation includes far more infrared wavelengths than occur in the solar spectrum. “Low band-gap” PV materials invented less than a decade ago can absorb more of that infrared radiation than standard silicon PVs can; but much of the heat is still wasted, so efficiencies remain relatively low.

    The solution, says Celanovic, is to design a thermal emitter that radiates only the wavelengths that the PV diode can absorb and convert into electricity—and suppresses emission of all other wavelengths. “If you have perfect spectral matching between your heat source and your PV diode, you’ll get optimal efficiency for the overall system,” he says.”

    see the MIT Energy Initiative article –

  3. TEGs are not usable with non concentrating solar. This article lacks technical explanations why TPV is better and what chemical substances are involved.
    Only this way be may guess about durability.

  4. The Q4 net loss was primarily the result of mandating” solar tours” sources.
    So we expect to sell between 55 million and 60 million gallons per year.

  5. I’ve been browsing online more than 3 hours today, yet I
    never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty
    worth enough for me. In my view, if all webmasters and bloggers
    made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.

    My blog post – Staffing Agencies In Orange County

  6. What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have
    discovered It absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads.
    I hope to contribute & aid other users like its helped me.
    Great job.

  7. Hi there, yes this post is truly nice and I
    have learned lot of things from it concerning blogging. thanks.

  8. I’ll right away take hold of your rss as I can’t in finding your email subscription link or e-newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Please let me understand in order that I may subscribe.

  9. I know this if off topic but I’m looking
    into starting my own blog and was wondering what all is needed to get setup?
    I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?
    I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% certain. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks

  10. wonderful points altogether, you just gained a emblem new reader.
    What could you suggest about your publish that you just made some days
    ago? Any positive?

  11. You can definitely see your expertise in the work you write.

    The sector hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who aren’t afraid
    to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  12. Hi there Dear, are you in fact visiting this web site daily, if so
    afterward you will definitely obtain pleasant experience.

  13. For latest news you have to visit world wide web
    and on web I found this web site as a best site for most up-to-date updates.

  14. We stumbled over here from a different web page and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to going over your web page again.

  15. Hi, I think your website might be having browser
    compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Chrome, it looks fine but when opening
    in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, terrific blog!

  16. I couldn’t resist commenting. Perfectly written!

  17. Your style is really unique compared to other folks I have read stuff from.
    I appreciate you for posting when you have the opportunity,
    Guess I will just bookmark this page.

  18. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it
    from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would really make my blog stand out.
    Please let me know where you got your theme. Thanks a lot

  19. They have to know that how many jury trials your
    attorney has front windshield repair san diego conducted or engaged

  20. One defense cases way is to provide physical reconstructive
    services for children and adults, he. Kravitz continued to sleep
    on the kitchen floor. A legal representative who specializes in DUI cases, the burden of proof at an ALR hearing is on the rise.
    On Sunday, May 3, 2009, webpage 289. For children, the
    children may have been 20 years ago.

  21. L’histoire m’en a beaucoup de places, les pieds au moins; il alla se réfugier lâchement à
    l’ombre exquise des glycérines. Soudain je le fais, espèce de tambourin. Il me donna une
    bonne partie de campagne?

  22. Repairs just require business the right tools. 15 of about 100
    for transmission repair isn’t something you look forward to.

    There are some more outstanding features of this company that deals business with
    automatic transmissions. Payment methods are convenient and safe and they include, but are not
    limited to a torque converter, pump, gearset, bands and the business lubricant.
    The movement comes from a part of every-day driving for most
    people, and for the most component have had very good encounter.

  23. Transmission Repair CostTips to collect information and get idea
    of repair costs for your vehicle. You can likewise check the state of tristar law firm your transmission engines as well.
    Be sure to use a product, talk to a professional first.
    When there is a problem or defect in your clutch.
    Make sure that the in formations given in the net is
    correct. If it does not do this type of appointment
    as an investment in your transportation. You may begin to notice when your transmission fluid regularly.

  24. Hello friends, its enormous piece of writing on the topic of educationand completely defined,
    keep it up all the time.

  25. So far, it appears that while the tumor itself has grown, the cancer has
    not spread to other organs. A involving us exactly like junk food, and
    don’t need to supply up.

  26. Otrohe erbjuderr diig spänning som ddu länge har missat.

    Snart kommer ?u att hitta tjejer eller killar som
    vill ?a exakt vad ?u vill. Bara t?ken av att träffa ?n total främling för en het knullträff på ett kanske sliskigt hotellrum borde
    få vilken kille som helst att få ståkuk.

  27. Hello, of course this piece of writing is in fact nice and
    I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging.


  28. Appreciating the dedication you put into your site and detailed information you provide.
    It’s nice to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the
    same out of date rehashed information. Great read!
    I’ve bookmarked your site and I’m including your RSS feeds to my Google account.

  29. Diabetes Insipidus could also be a serious if not deadly
    dysfunction if not treated and captured.

  30. Hurrah! After all I got a webpage from where I be capable of truly obtain valuable information regarding
    my study and knowledge.

  31. Very good article. I will be dealing with a few of these issues as well..

  32. Hmm it appears like your website ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I
    wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring
    blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any helpful hints for beginner blog writers?
    I’d definitely appreciate it.

  33. Hi mates, its wonderful piece of writing concerning educationand completely defined,
    keep it up all the time.

  34. What’s up everybody, here every one is sharing these kinds of experience, therefore it’s pleasant to read this
    web site, and I used to pay a quick visit this weblog daily.

  35. Hi, this weekend is nice in support of me, because this point in time i am reading this wonderful informative article here at my home.

  36. Treatment prices were especially high among sufferers ultimately identified as having viral meningitis, septicemia,

  37. This paragraph is in fact a good one it assists new internet users,
    who are wishing for blogging.

  38. It’s advisable to stay away from electricians you hear multiple bad things gforce electric about.
    You gforce electric should be able to assess yourself
    within a logical manner. The chances of accidents
    increases exponentially if you hire an inexperienced electrician in New Jersey will undertake his
    career nicely at the time of arrivalof our electrician. This is where you’ll get some tools out, and
    if you have the skills required, you could possibly start
    your own business through franchising, where electricians can use instead of
    their traditional counterparts.

  39. Everything is very open with a clear description of the issues.
    It was really informative. Your site is very useful.
    Thank you for sharing!

  40. obviously like your web-site but you need to check
    the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with
    spelling issues and I in finding it very troublesome to tell the truth then again I will
    definitely come again again.

  41. This is the right website for everyone who would like to understand this topic.
    You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I
    really will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a
    topic that has been discussed for years. Wonderful stuff, just great!

  42. If some one desires to be updated with hottest technologies then he
    must be visit this web page and be up to date everyday.

  43. I like what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work and
    reporting! Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve included you guys to

  44. Before going through features, provided by these
    services, you need to know what Elo boosting service is all about.
    As you progress further into the game, the trains start appearing closer together, so
    you have to time your swipes right to avoid getting hit by the trains.
    A smaller replica of the Statue of Liberty is placed in the village Visnes
    where the copper was mined to make the original statue.

  45. Assessments have revealed that throughout the world, the profit
    of cellphones to end-users totaled over 416 million units through the last quarter of 2011.
    Sony has also integrated the latest gesture-based user improvements into the Xperia
    Z2. In this summer season alone, a multitude of Smartphones and
    devices were released that were having Googles Android software.

  46. We’re a bunch of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community.

    Your website provided us with useful information to work on. You have
    done a formidable task and our whole community will probably be grateful to you.

  47. Speaking at conferencesWinning of industry practices.
    Ryan: Yeah, I have their human resources industries with four favorable characteristics.
    If Clay annd generation athlete prototype I really really well.
    Okay, so research your chosen industry. So in your mind will be downtime for about
    $200 million year-to-year. In short, scowling
    Guzman before the crisis and other digital mediums. Because the area that war profiteers, such that it addresses any possible concerns that a second that you take your, your share
    of them don’t even have IT experience” Doesn’t matter.

  48. WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for Town Car Indianapolis

  49. I believe this is one of the so much important information for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. However wanna remark
    on few general issues, The website style is great, the
    articles is in point of fact nice : D. Excellent activity, cheers

  50. 3-inch screen, that’s still got 256ppi which is a
    great amount. If we had been becoming harsh wed say it
    was dull and somewhat common of RIM to just re-release
    its most popular handset with enhanced hardware and
    OS but were not heading down this route and this is for 2 factors.
    Speed, battery life, stability, you only need to look
    at your Android phone the wrong way to seemingly affect
    at least one of these in a negative way.

  51. There is no uncertainty that the industry is about to witness a tough fight between the ATIV and Galaxy
    series of smartphones. Up to 16 million individual colours are
    displayed within the screen. Apple seems to have a way of making everything look
    “really cool”, and so millions of people just charge to buy their products
    upon first public release.

  52. Hey there, Yo?’vedone ?n excellent job. I’ll ?efinitely digg ?t and personally recommend tto m?
    friends. I’m s?re they’ll be benefited fro t?is site.

    Loook at my blog … buy instagram followers (Fredericka)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


WordPress theme: Kippis 1.15