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Research Papers

Potential of Polygeneration With Solar Thermal and Photovoltaic Systems

[+] Author and Article Information
Abraham Kribus

School of Mechanical Engineering, Tel Aviv University, P.O. Box 39040, Tel Aviv 69978, Israelkribus@eng.tau.ac.il

Gur Mittelman

School of Mechanical Engineering, Tel Aviv University, P.O. Box 39040, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel

J. Sol. Energy Eng 130(1), 011001 (Dec 28, 2007) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2804618 History: Received September 23, 2006; Revised March 26, 2007; Published December 28, 2007

The efficiency of both solar thermal and photovoltaic (PV) systems for power generation is usually in the range of 10–30%, meaning that more than two-thirds of the collected radiation energy is lost. Cogeneration, or more generally polygeneration, means capturing and using some of the wasted energy and therefore increasing the overall efficiency of the solar conversion. Several paths of solar polygeneration are investigated: both thermal and photovoltaic receivers, with use of the waste heat to generate additional electricity by a heat engine, a direct use as heat, and use of the waste heat to operate a thermal process (absorption cooling). Appropriate optical and thermal energy losses are taken into account in all cases. The receiver temperature and the sunlight concentration level serve as free parameters. It is shown that concentrating the solar radiation is essential to effective polygeneration, and that there is an optimal operating temperature for each system. Polygeneration leads to increased conversion efficiency in all cases, and the scenarios based on PV show better results than those based on thermal converters. Scenarios showing electricity replacement up to 43% (normalized to the incident radiation) are presented.

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Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Possible configurations of solar polygeneration systems: (a) two-stage thermal conversion with heat engines; (b) PV and thermal conversion

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Figure 2

System efficiency of single-stage and two-stage solar thermal plants, for concentration C=50 and 1000; K=0.6

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Figure 3

Overall efficiency of conversion to electricity for PV-heat engine combination

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Figure 4

Overall efficiency for a CPVT system with absorption cooling based on reference COPs of 4 and 6, compared to the same system without cogeneration (PV only) and with a heat engine. (a) Concentration C=50; (b) C=200.

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Figure 5

Overall efficiency for a solar heat engine with AHP cooling based on reference COPs of 4 and 6, compared to a two-stage heat engine. (a) Concentration C=50; (b) C=1000.

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