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Full-spectrum solar energy harvesting using nanotechnology-enabled photovoltaic/thermoelectric hybrid system

Hashim, Hasan 2015. Full-spectrum solar energy harvesting using nanotechnology-enabled photovoltaic/thermoelectric hybrid system. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Carbon emissions, climate change and the finite resource of fossil fuels are driving an increasing need for renewable energy, and in particular, an interest in photovoltaic (PV) cells. Most PV cells operate in temperatures above 25 oC, and the performance of PV cells reduces with increased operation temperature. This research aims to resolve some engineering issues by integrating PV cells with a thermoelectric generator (TEG). Integrating TEG with PV cells helps to transfer heat from the PV through the TEG to an actively or passively cooled heat sink. The temperature difference established across the TEG can generates additional electrical power by the Seebeck effect. The main objective of this research is to investigate the feasibility of developing a PV/TEG hybrid system that can offer better performance than that can be obtained from each individual system. The key parameters, which are crucial to the development of efficient hybrid system, were investigated. These include the temperature coefficient of PV cells, geometry of TEGs and thermal coupling between the PV and TEG. It was found that the dye sensitised solar cells (DSC) has a preferred temperature coefficient that are the most suitable for use in a PV/TEG system. In this work, a theoretical model was also developed for determination of the optimal geometry of the TEG for PV/TEG hybrid systems. A special type of DSCs was designed and fabricated which employ titanium as the counter electrode (other than conventional FTO-glass) to improve the thermal coupling between the PV and TEG. A unique DSC/TEG hybrid system was constructed using this special type of DSC and its generating performance was studied in comparison with a similar system that uses conventional FTO-glass counter electrode. The experimental results show that the power output and efficiency of the hybrid PV/TEG system with Ti counter electrode is significantly higher than the similar system with a conventional FTO-glass electrode due to an improved thermal coupling between the DSC and TEG. It is concluded that a hybrid PV/TEG system can provide improved performance beyond that of each individual system. However, the improvement can only be achieved with appropriate type of PV cells, optimised TEGs and advanced structures for integration, such as Ti counter electrode.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Engineering
Subjects: T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Photovoltaic, Thermoelectric, Hybrid system, Power output, Dye Sensitised solar cell, Hybrid tandem cell
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2016 04:41

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