Carnot efficiency at divergent power output

New paper out on the arXiv:

MP and M. Esposito, Carnot efficiency at divergent power output,

It’s a very short and straightforward communication on a simple fact that nevertheless might have important consequences, and which was also noticed (one day in advance) in this preprint:

J. S. Lee and H. Park, Carnot efficiency is attainable in an irreversible process, arXiv:1611.07665

Engineering machines that have higher efficiency is a crucial technological problem. It is usually believed that optimal “Carnot” efficiency can only be realized via quasistatic processes that deliver zero power; this fact has been corroborated by several results, including a very recent inequality between power and efficiency by Shiraishi et al. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 190601 (2016)]. However, this conclusion overlooks the important possibility that efficiency can be optimized in a dual scenario, that of divergent power. Starting from an observation that we briefly made in [Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 050601 (2015)], where in an “extended linear regime” scenario we showed that there exists a limit where Carnot efficiency at divergent power output is possible, in this paper we go beyond the linear regime assumption, showing that, within the formalism of Stochastic Thermodynamics, Carnot efficiency can be achieved in the limit of a divergent power output in arbitrary stationary processes that have two coupled cycles.


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