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.
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
Actual merit? Works at night.