• GavinR29 commented on icecats's instructable Fire Power: Electricity from heat3 months ago
    Fire Power: Electricity from heat

    I have tons of expendable heat in my region. Dallas, Texas, US. But I wanted to throw this out there. Solar panels lose efficiency when over 25° C. This is a year round situation here since the panels are black. My roof without panels measures 140°F on an 80° day in cool April in the morning. Why not ($, i know) put TEGs (thermal energy converters) on the back of the solar film (the shady side) to beef up output by cooling the solar panels. Still need heat sinks of course. Then, simply series these guys up with the solar panel to add heat generated power before the optimizer makes the most of this marriage and essentially collect solar energy from all wavelengths that the panel doesn't reflect including radiant heat (very long wavelength infrared) and really, a panel maker can always add absorptive pigments and materials on the back to just collect whatever reflects off, and to the surface of the TEGs to collect everything that passes right through the panel and boost panel output and efficiency. I realize I am leaving out some things but I am throwing the concept to "paper" to stimulate thought. I read that scientists are developing a panel that collects light in 3 different ways, each designed to be most efficient in its band of light, all visible bands, BTW. If you made it past Jr high you saw that visible light is just a sliver of solar radiation so tiny it was represented by a line on a whole page. What of everything else that will soon be cutting the power of my rooftop PV system--stuff that may or may not be visible, regardless of the source-- energy. Energy that CAN be collected by a "solar" panel and can be converted to electricity? The answer? Well, redundantly, it can be electricity too and it would make a darn good radiant barrier too, a third benefit by reducing the amount of energy my AC unit has to pump outside. Hey, just a thought. Those 3 band solar cells won't hit the market for 35 years. Don't hold your breath please. These TEGs that are too expensive now (many would say), if made in the billions for radiant energy panels formerly known as solar panels, would drop in price as economy of scale does to things. So yes, thats the cost: cost. But in a disaster zone, even if cloudy a solar cell will do ok, today. Now, it will do how much better? I don't know. It depends. Try it and measure your results and conditions. My point is that in a disaster the sun is always there, whether the clouds matter or not depends only on what wavelength we measure or utilize. Now, why not utilize all of them that reach down here and keep your panels cooler and more efficient too and generate enough, without a fire, to get somewhere safe from forest fires caused by other people's TEC projects. I'm joking about the fires, lol. Well, if you are in a disaster, a fire can be mighty hard to make, illegal, or it can be dangerous too, I suppose. I'm likely to hurt myself trying to do the bow and stick thing. I'm too old. A better solar panel helps everyone, everywhere, anytime, disaster or not. Maybe. I think probably so.

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