Tiny antennas which capture light and heat energy may be a new low cost way to produce solar energy and reuse wasted energy in industrial processes.
RedWave Energy is a startup based in Chicago and founded back in the beginning of 2011. The company is prototyping a new form of power plant, tiny antennas which can harvest energy from infrared light and heat. Soon it may even be able to capture energy from the visible spectrum of light.
At this point the company, whose investors include Northwater Capital, believes applications may exist for the technology with industries such as explosive detection and high speed communication, but one day, the end goal will be to adapt it for energy capture and enable solar power at twice the capacity of current solar panels, but at a lower cost.
The technology behind the antennas is built around nanotechnology, which is increasingly being used for a variety of purposes, including the creation of solar cells. Sol Volantics, a Swedish competitor to RedWave, is using nanotechnology to create nano-scale wires which can be layered on to traditional solar panels to increase their efficiency by 25%.
nanoscale structures are very very small
RedWave Energy’s antennas, however, work in a completely different way than solar cells. The antennas absorb light of specific wavelengths and convert it directly into electricity. The technology has been around for decades, but has yet to be commercialized. RedWave is currently working out the details of licensing the technology from Idaho National Labs and the University of Colorado. The company reports it will dive further into the energy capture industry after their prototype is released in the second quarter of this year.