Concentrated Photovoltaic Thermoelectric Hybrid Systems (C.P.T.H.)
Ray Liu, Pearl Ayem
R C Palmer Secondary
Floor Location : M 186 N
Solar energy is the future of renewable energy, with energy demand continually increasing, along with the need for new and clean energy sources, solar energy will definitely be an important part of the future. Photovoltaics is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. Unfortunately, the current generation of Photovoltaic modules have very low conversion efficiency, with commercial grade solar cells having an average of 17% efficiency. Not only that, Photovoltaics is quite expensive costing around 156.9 USD per Megawatt compared to 65.5 USD per Megawatt of a natural gas fired plant. In this project, I have developed a Photovoltaic module that has a higher efficiency than conventional cells while keeping costs low by using thermoelectric modules to capture the heat energy that is wasted in conventional systems. Instead of keeping the design of traditional flat solar panels which uses direct sunlight, we have instead used a parabolic dish to concentrate a large amount of sunlight onto a small solar cell. This in turn reduces the amount of solar cells used and the amount of thermoelectric modules used, which reduces cost. In order for the thermoelectric modules to generate electricity, one side must be cooled and the other side heated. The thermoelectric modules used in my design are liquid cooled using a passive modified thermo siphon system. The cooling system does not require a pump and instead uses the remaining heat to circulate the cooling fluid through a radiator which removes power consumption of the cooling system. The system also features an active tracking system that is used to focus the sunlight on the module. The tracking system uses a single low cost servo that has been modified to track the sun. No control circuitry is used to lower power consumption of the tracking system.