Research Papers

Band-Gap Tuned Direct Absorption for a Hybrid Concentrating Solar Photovoltaic/Thermal System

[+] Author and Article Information
Todd P. Otanicar, Ihtesham Chowdhury, Ravi Prasher, Patrick E. Phelan

Department of Mechanical Engineering,  Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA 90045School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy,  Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281

J. Sol. Energy Eng 133(4), 041014 (Oct 18, 2011) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004708 History: Received May 25, 2011; Revised July 21, 2011; Published October 18, 2011; Online October 18, 2011

Two methods often proposed for harnessing renewable energy, photovoltaics and solar thermal, both utilize the power of the sun. Each of these systems independently presents unique engineering challenges but when coupled together the challenge intensifies due to competing operating requirements. Recent research has demonstrated these hybrid systems for low-temperature applications but there exists limited studies at higher concentration ratios, and thus higher temperatures. What these studies have shown is that keeping the photovoltaic (PV) cell temperature low keeps the overall system efficiency relatively high but results in low efficiencies from the thermal system. This study presents a unique design strategy for a hybrid PV/thermal system that only has mild thermal coupling which can lead to enhanced efficiency. By creating a fluid filter that absorbs energy directly in the fluid below the band-gap and a PV cell with an active cooling strategy combined efficiencies greater than 38% can be achieved.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Am 1.5 solar spectrum and percent energy below and above cell band-gap of 1.5 ev

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Figure 2

Approaches to thermally decoupled pv/t hybrid concentrating solar collector: (a) optical splitter (adapted from [16]) and (b) absorbing fluid filter

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Figure 3

Hybrid pv/t configuration utilizing a spectral nanofluid filter

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Figure 4

Overall efficiency variation as a function of band-gap and concentration ratio (a) Αbbg  = 0, (b) Αbbg  = 0.4, (c) Αbbg  = 0.6, and (d) Αbbg  = 1.0

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Figure 5

Overall efficiency variation as a function of band-gap and concentration ratio (a) Hcool  = 0.1 w/m2 k, (b) Hcool  = 10 w/m2 k, (c) Hcool  = 100 w/m2 k, and (d) Hcool  = 1000 w/m2 k all have αbbg  = 1.0

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Figure 6

Impact of heat transfer coefficient on pv cell efficiency and temperature (solid lines-efficiency, dashed lines-temperature, band-gap = 2 ev, αbbg  = 1)



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