Sun has been a powerful source of renewable energy, but it was proven that night sky can also be used to generate electricity. A team of researchers has created a device that can convert the cold of space into electricity to power an LED light. The paper published in the journal Joule showed that, the equipment is designed based on a thermoelectric generator that can generate electricity from the temperature difference between a cold side and hot side. The team of researchers contains UCLA scientist Aaswanth Raman, and Stanford scientists Shanhui Fan and Wei Li. They decided to make use of the idea and made use of cold of outer space as one big cold sink and the ambient environment of Earth as a heat source.
When the reality hit Raman that nearly 1 billion people around the world live without electricity, this underlined the necessity for nontraditional, cheap lighting technology. The materials were bought for about $30 to show how cheaply the device can be produced and they used store-bought thermoelectric modulator, Styrofoam, Saran wrap, and sheet metal. Raman stated that he and co-author Fan joined together in 2012 to work on radiative cooling, but the work was considered as a side project.
The duo co-founded SkyCool Systems, a company that produces panels that makes use of radiative cooling to generate air conditioning and eco-friendly cooling. Fan stated that the study of the coldness of outer space must be pursued seriously because the thermodynamic resource is a renewable source that can be used to generate electricity.