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I'm having my students research new energy technologies. One of them came across this website:

-Neutrino energy: harnessing the power of cosmic radiation

The website promotes a deeply unlikely energy technology: They say they can get a significant amount of energy from neutrinos. They also say it's enough energy that you could replace solar panels with a neutrino panel.

This, on its face, seems to be really sketchy. I remember reading that a typical neutrino can pass through a light-year of lead without interacting.

This energy technology idea being promoted by a man named Holger Thorsten Schubart.

I really don't think this could be legit, but I'd like some sources I could point my student to so that he can verify the technology himself, and not just based on my expertise.

Can anyone provide a good source to debunk or (in the unlikely chance this technology is legit) confirm these claims?

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I would agree that on its face this seems sketchy, but there's a fairly simple way of debunking this. (Strictly back-of-the-envelope calculations.)

  1. The neutrino flux experienced on any given part of Earth's surface is approximately 3 * 10^15 per square meter per second, or 10^19 per hour. The average solar neutrino carries an energy of ~400 keV.
  2. 1 kwH = 2.2 * 10^22 keV. So if you could capture all of the energy from the neutrinos passing through a given square metre, you'd have 4 * 10^21 kEv... or about 0.2 kWh.
  3. The average insolation of a square metre on a sunny day is 1.368 kW. A solar panel, therefore, need only be 15% efficient to outperform a magical material that can stop 100% of all neutrinos dead in their tracks.
  4. In the matter that makes up a human body, the odds of a given neutrino interacting at all with that matter is 1 in 10^24.

So unless these neutrino panels are some truly special kind of matter, they're not going to be replacing solar panels anytime soon.

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    Number 3/4 is the extremely critical part. The existence of something that can absorb the energy of all the neutrinos passing through it is highly dubious, as most neutrinos pass through all forms of matter without stopping. – DenisS Dec 11 '19 at 21:28
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    @cpcodes, the most sophisticated neutrino detector to date has a volume of a cubic kilometer. – Mark Dec 11 '19 at 23:50

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