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This is a 3-unit system. The central storage unit is on an axle,
and the other two units can rotate around it, so that either the
collector is on top, or the emitter is on top.
Now for the details. In a desert the collector is much like a
regular solar collector, except we want to think more
than "collect". Heat coming from the sun flows through the
collector into the storage unit. Thermocouples generate power
while this occurs.
At dusk the overall system is rotated upside down. Now heat
flows from the storage unit to the emitter, which radiates it
upward through the generally clear and low-humidity
(deserts at night are notoriously cold). Again, thermocouples
generate power while this happens.
At dawn, the overall system is rotated again (reverse direction
so flexible electrical wiring can stay solidly connected), and
collector can do its thing once more....
Naturally, the idealized version of this would be a collector that
can also work as an emitter. Then rotations would never be
necessary, and construction would be simpler.
While most often used to detect heat flow, they can also be used to generate power. In a number of space probes, radioactive materials produce heat, and thermocouples convert it to electricity to power the probes. [Vernon, Aug 29 2015]
Just in case you weren't sure we could do this. [Vernon, Aug 29 2015]
[LimpNotes, Sep 04 2015]
||There are home "geothermal" systems in which the ground
is used for heat storage, but the ground isn't as efficient at
that as other substances (but it generally is cheaper!).
||I thought thermocouples worked because of a junction and most are one unit and not with separated emitter and collector.
||Though, I can imagine the solid thermocouple tile flipping on top of the heat store.
||The collector and the emitter are already the same
||A parabolic (or trough) style solar collector, with a fluid
pipe at the aim point. To get heat, aim it at the sun. To
lose heat, aim at at the empty sky. You might need a
single valve to switch between your hot reservoir
(pumped up during the day) and your cool reservoir,
dumping heat at night.
||Practically speaking, it might make sense to use a triple
trough, with the center aimed at the sun, and the sides
maybe 20 degrees to either side so you can dump some
heat during the day (it will be less efficient because
ambient is higher, and the air itself is radiating more IR
||or egg white to capture some of energy from
those proteins folding? Who could forget
Bridgmans seminal 1914 study showing
7kpascal pressure could get the runny bit to