Science & Technology

Next-Generation Hybrid Photovoltaic-Thermal Solar Technology Efficiency Limits

The photo voltaic spectrum is separated by an optical filter, and solely a part of the spectrum is distributed to the PV cells for electrical energy era. The remainder of the spectrum, which can’t be utilized by the photo voltaic cells, is directed to a thermal absorber to generate thermal vitality. Credit score: Gan Huang, Kai Wang and Christos N. Markides

Solar vitality is without doubt one of the most plentiful renewable vitality sources, and efficient photo voltaic applied sciences have nice potential to alleviate the grand challenges of rising world vitality calls for, whereas lowering related emissions. Solar vitality is able to satisfying {the electrical} and thermal-energy wants of numerous end-users via photovoltaic (PV) and photo voltaic thermal (ST) applied sciences, respectively. Just lately, hybrid photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) ideas have been proposed that synergistically mix the advantages of PV and ST applied sciences, and are able to producing each electrical energy and helpful warmth concurrently from the identical space and element.

Spectral splitting is an rising method for designing high-performance PVT photo voltaic collectors, which make use of superior designs with optical filters that direct totally different elements of the photo voltaic spectrum both to the PV cells for electrical energy era or to a thermal absorber for warmth era. Nonetheless, the final word effectivity limits of spectral-splitting PVT (SSPVT) collectors relying on the applying and end-user calls for, together with the optimum collector designs, PV cell and optical filter supplies that may allow us to method these limits have remained unclear, with a scarcity of consensus within the area, motivating a better examination of those features of SSPVT know-how.

(a) Bodily mannequin of an excellent concentrating SSPVT collector. (b) Restrict of complete effectivity for various PV cells with totally different bandgap energies in several purposes. (c) Optimum spectral-splitting filters for frequent PV cell supplies. Credit score: Gan Huang, Kai Wang and Christos N. Markides

In a brand new paper revealed in Mild Science & Utility, Christos N. Markides and Gan Huang from Imperial Faculty London within the UK, in collaboration with Kai Wang from Zhejiang College in China, report a complete framework for predicting the efficiency of such collectors, which is then used to establish their effectivity limits, and to supply detailed steerage for choosing optimum PV supplies and optimum spectral-splitting filters able to delivering a mixed thermal and electrical efficiency that approaches the effectivity limits of this know-how.

“We discovered that the relative worth of thermal vitality to that of electrical energy has a major affect on the whole efficient effectivity limits, the optimum PV cell materials and the optimum spectral-splitting filter of SSPVT collectors.”

“CIGS photo voltaic cells are thought of significantly promising for SSPVT collector purposes owing to their adjustable bandgap vitality. The optimum lower- and upper-bounds of the spectral-splitting filter rely strongly on the PV materials” they added.

“Detailed maps in our analysis can help designers in choosing acceptable solar-cell supplies and spectral-splitting optical filters, relying on the circumstances and software, as a way to obtain optimum general efficiency accounting for each vitality vectors (electrical energy and warmth) generated by these techniques.” the scientists said.

Reference: “Efficiency limits of concentrating spectral-splitting hybrid photovoltaic-thermal (PV-T) photo voltaic collectors and techniques” by Gan Huang, Kai Wang and Christos N. Markides, 5 February 2021, Mild: Science & Functions.

Funded by the UK Engineering and Bodily Sciences Analysis Council (EPSRC), the Imperial Faculty London EPSRC Affect Acceleration Account.

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