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Desert Thermocouple Power

Produces power day and night
  [vote for,

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 of "flow" 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 atmosphere (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 now the 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.

Vernon, Aug 29 2015

About thermocouples https://en.wikipedi...g/wiki/Thermocouple
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]

Heat storage https://en.wikipedi...rmal_energy_storage
Just in case you weren't sure we could do this. [Vernon, Aug 29 2015]

Thermoelectric generator https://en.wikipedi...oelectric_generator
[LimpNotes, Sep 04 2015]


       Can the ground itself be used for some part of the process?
Ian Tindale, Aug 29 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!).
Vernon, Aug 29 2015

       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.
wjt, Aug 30 2015

       The collector and the emitter are already the same thing.   

       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 back in).
MechE, Aug 31 2015

       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 go white....
not_morrison_rm, Aug 31 2015


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