Innovation : des chercheurs annoncent la possibilité de produire l’énergie solaire, la nuit


 Le rapport sur l’état du climat mondial, publié mercredi 18 mai, confirme que les sept dernières années ont été les plus chaudes jamais enregistrées. Le développement rapide des énergies renouvelables, notamment l’énergie solaire, parait alors plus que jamais nécessaire pour renverser la tendance.

Des chercheurs de la School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering de l’UNSW Sydney ont testé avec succès un appareil capable de convertir la chaleur infrarouge en énergie électrique, en utilisant un dispositif de production d’énergie appelé « diode thermo-radiative », qui est similaire à la technologie des lunettes de vision nocturne.

« Lorsque nous pensons à l’émission infrarouge de la Terre dans l’espace extra-atmosphérique, c’est maintenant la Terre qui est le corps relativement chaud, le vaste vide de l’espace étant extrêmement froid. Par les mêmes principes de la thermodynamique, il est également possible de générer de l’électricité à partir de cette différence de température : l’émission de lumière infrarouge dans l’espace », déclare Nicholas Ekins-Daukes, chercheur associé d’Exciton Science et chef de l’équipe de recherche.

Les résultats publiés sont certes prometteurs, mais demandent à être confirmés par d’autres études et des défis importants restent à relever pour atteindre l’objectif final qui est de produire l’énergie solaire, durant la nuit.   « Nous n’avons pas encore le matériau miracle qui fera de la diode thermo-radiative une réalité quotidienne, mais nous avons fait une preuve de principe et sommes impatients de voir dans quelle mesure nous pouvons améliorer ce résultat dans les années à venir », indique le chercheur. Cette découverte révolutionnerait l’énergie solaire qui est caractérisée pour le moment par l’intermittence, ce qui constitue son plus grand inconvénient. Mais elle pourrait aussi faire perdre à l’Afrique son avantage en termes d’abondance de ressources solaires.



112 thoughts on “Innovation : des chercheurs annoncent la possibilité de produire l’énergie solaire, la nuit

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