Continuous electricity generation from diurnal and seasonal air temperature variation

Tang X., Cuce E., Li G., Zhao X.

Applied Thermal Engineering, vol.241, 2024 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 241
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2024.122367
  • Journal Name: Applied Thermal Engineering
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, INSPEC, Metadex, DIALNET, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Air temperature variation, Continuous electricity generation, Electrochemical cell, Solar energy, Thermally regenerative electrochemical cycle
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Limited research has been conducted on green and effective approaches for harnessing thermal energy from diurnal and seasonal air temperature variation. Thermally regenerative electrochemical cycle, with high low-grade heat-to-electricity conversion efficiency, is desirable for generating electricity through periodical temperature variation because of its separate charging and discharging processes. However, the cell merely discharges at a limited period with intermittent power output. Herein, a novel continuous power output system, combining p-type and n-type cells, is proposed and investigated to harness heat from periodical temperature variation and convert it into electricity. In this instance, electricity generation relies solely on the energy derived from air without solar radiation or outer space cooling. Based on operating principles and experiment results, the system concept, operating processes, and mathematic models are well developed. The p-type and n-type cell characteristics, diurnal performance, and seasonal performance are investigated and analysed. The results suggest that the average power density is 0.15 W/kg and 0.69 W/kg in the diurnal and seasonal periodic conditions, respectively, in Urumqi city. This indicates the proposed idea is an effective technology for obtaining electricity continuously from air temperature variation.