Universal bounds and thermodynamic tradeoffs in nonequilibrium energy harvesting

Complexity Digest

Jordi Piñero, Ricard Solé, Artemy Kolchinsky

Many molecular systems operate by harvesting and storing energy from their environments. However, the maintenance of a nonequilibrium state necessary to support energy harvesting itself carries thermodynamic costs. We consider the optimal tradeoff between costs and benefits of energy harvesting in a nonequilibrium steady state, for a system that may be in contact with a fluctuating environment. We find a universal bound on this tradeoff, which leads to closed-form expressions for optimal power output and optimal steady-state distributions for three physically meaningful regimes. Our results are illustrated using a model of a unicyclic network, which is inspired by the logic of biomolecular cycles.

Read the full article at: arxiv.org

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