Aaswath Raman, an electrical engineer at the University of California, Los Angeles, has developed a device that generates energy in completely dark conditions.
This invention arose after a trip that the teacher would make to a Sierra Leone village in 2013 where he mentions that he had not noticed that he was in it, because everything was completely dark.
It wasn't until he heard the voices of the villagers that he realized he had arrived. That's when Dr. Raman thought of some way how to use that darkness to his advantage to create something that could generate illumination.
His prototype device, of which a publication was made in Joule magazine, works under the concept of radioactive cooling. This refers to a phenomenon that occurs after sunset, when the temperature of structures such as buildings drops to be colder with respect to the surrounding air.
Based on this, Dr. Raman's device releases heat unevenly, making the temperature of the upper side feel lower compared to the lower, taking advantage of it to generate electricity.
In the article Dr. Raman also describes how your device can have the ability to supply electricity to a white LED when it is connected to a voltage converter.
According to materials scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Jeffrey Grossman, who has conducted studies on passive cooling and solar technology, Dr. Raman's work seems promising and quite exciting. Although he also indicated that there is still a long way to go if they intend to use this device as an option to the storage of batteries for solar cells.
On the other hand, Dr. Raman says that his device can be a complement to lighting powered by solar energy in regions where changing these types of batteries can be a challenge.
Although the amount of electricity generated by Dr. Raman's device was small, he considers his initiative as an opportunity to help communities like Sierra Leone, which lack night lighting, in the future.