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.
Band-Gap Tuned Direct Absorption for a Hybrid Concentrating Solar Photovoltaic/Thermal System
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Otanicar, T. P., Chowdhury, I., Prasher, R., and Phelan, P. E. (October 18, 2011). "Band-Gap Tuned Direct Absorption for a Hybrid Concentrating Solar Photovoltaic/Thermal System." ASME. J. Sol. Energy Eng. November 2011; 133(4): 041014. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4004708
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