Solar magnetic energy, the future of solar?
Electromagnetism is a classically unified force, the relationship between light and magnetism is well known, but the magnetic component was thought to be weak enough that it could be safely ignored. Stephen Rand, a professor at UMich, said, “You could stare at the equations of motion all day and you will not see this possibility. We’ve all been taught that this doesn’t happen. It’s a very odd interaction. That’s why it’s been overlooked for more than 100 years.” This could lead to a new kind of solar cell without semiconductors and without absorption to produce charge separation,” Rand said. “In solar cells, the light goes into a material, gets absorbed and creates heat. Here, we expect to have a very low heat load. Instead of the light being absorbed, energy is stored in the magnetic moment. Intense magnetization can be induced by intense light and then it is ultimately capable of providing a capacitive power source.” Using this magnetic property of light would only require glass, for lenses to focus the light and fiber to guide it. Transparent ceramics are also a possibility. This would be much cheaper than solar cells which are expensive to produce. This could be the breakthrough that makes solar power cheap enough for widespread adoption.