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Sun and space: Harnessing cold universe and solar power for renewable energy

March 14, 2024

As traditional energy methods increase in cost and take their toll on the environment, Penn State researchers are turning to two underutilized renewable resources, the sun and outer space, for solutions to generate electricity and passively cool down structures.

Led by Linxiao Zhu, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, the team developed and tested a dual cooling and power strategy that simultaneously harvests solar energy in a solar cell and directs heat away from Earth through radiative cooling. They published their energy solution, which is more efficient than either component on its own, on March 13 in Cell Reports Physical Science.

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