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Research Papers

Modeling and Analysis of a Combined Photovoltaic-Thermoelectric Power Generation System

[+] Author and Article Information
Hamidreza Najafi

e-mail: hamidreza.najafi@ua.edu

Keith A. Woodbury

e-mail: keith.woodbury@ua.edu
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
The University of Alabama,
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF SOLAR ENERGY ENGINEERING. Manuscript received August 16, 2012; final manuscript received January 14, 2013; published online April 29, 2013. Assoc. Editor: Santiago Silvestre.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 135(3), 031013 (Apr 29, 2013) (8 pages) Paper No: SOL-12-1204; doi: 10.1115/1.4023594 History: Received August 16, 2012; Revised January 14, 2013

In the present paper, the possibility of using thermoelectric power generator modules (TEGs) to convert the heat generated by the photovoltaic/thermal (PVT) collector into electricity is investigated. A comprehensive heat transfer model for the combined PVT-TEG system is developed via matlab and simulated under different conditions. The hot side of the TEG module is considered connected to the top of the air channel which is attached to the backside of the solar panel. Air flows through the channel and cools down the cold side of the TEG modules. The TEG modules convert the temperature gradient to electricity and generate extra power from the excess heat, which results in improving the overall performance of the system. The temperature profile within the system is determined. The total generated power by the combined PVT-TEG system under different levels of irradiation is evaluated and discussed and the efficiency of each subsystem is calculated. Moreover, the performance of the combined system on a typical summer day in the Tuscaloosa, AL climate is determined in order to show the potential of using the proposed system by using actual meteorological data. Finally, the optimal required number of TEG modules needed in order to achieve the highest overall output power by the system for fixed weather conditions is evaluated and discussed.

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Figures

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Fig. 1

A schematic of the combined PVT-TEG system

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Fig. 2

Schematic of the TEG module and installed fins on the cold side

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Fig. 3

Flow chart for the solution of the governing equations of the combined PV-TEG system

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Fig. 4

Variation of the cell temperature, tedlar backside temperature, and the TEG's cold side temperature with solar radiation

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Fig. 5

Generated power by the PV panel under various solar radiation levels

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Fig. 6

Generated power by 36 TEG modules for different solar irradiance

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Fig. 7

Efficiencies of the PV panel and TEG module

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Fig. 8

Collectible direct solar radiation on July 29th

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Fig. 9

Ambient temperature and cell temperature profile for July 29th

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Fig. 10

Generated power by the PV panel (July 29th)

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Fig. 11

Generated power by the TEG module

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Fig. 12

The variation of the generated power by each TEG module versus solar radiation for different numbers of modules installed on the backside of the PV panel

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Fig. 13

Total generated power by all TEG modules versus solar radiation for different numbers of TEG modules

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Fig. 14

Effect of the number of TEG modules on the generated power by the PV panel

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