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Power Hardware

MIT Unveils Sun-Free Photovoltaics 103

Posted by Soulskill
from the channeling-dark-power dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at MIT just unveiled a new solar power generator that doesn't need sunlight to function. The button-sized power generator can tap energy from heat, the sun's rays, a hydrocarbon fuel, or a decaying radioisotope, and it can run three times longer than a lithium-ion battery of the same weight. It is hoped that the technology may one day be used to generate power for spacecraft on long-term missions where sunlight may not be available."
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MIT Unveils Sun-Free Photovoltaics

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  • by dhj (110274) * on Friday July 29, 2011 @03:40PM (#36925962)

    Good point... The summary left off an important bit of information from TFA:

    "Based on that technology, MIT researchers have made a button-sized power generator fueled by butane that can run three times longer than a lithium-ion battery of the same weight; the device can then be recharged instantly, just by snapping in a tiny cartridge of fresh fuel"

    So... using this to convert butane to electrical energy it lasts three times longer than a lithium-ion battery of the same weight.

    But if you look at energy density of the two fuel sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density [wikipedia.org]

    You find that butane/propane/gas/diesel is about 45 megajoules / kg and Li-ion batteries store about 0.75 megajoule / kg. Converted energy 2.25 megajoules (3x Li-Ion) out of stored energy 45 megajoules = 5% efficiency rate converting butane heat to electrical energy using this device.

    --David

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

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