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Solar Energy Systems for Terrestrial Applications

#A-1546


Cost Effective Photovoltaic and Thermal (Hybrid) Solar Energy Systems for Terrestrial Applications

Tech Area / Field

  • NNE-SOL/Solar Energy/Non-Nuclear Energy

Status
3 Approved without Funding

Registration date
22.06.2007

Leading Institute
National Polytechnical University of Armenia, Armenia, Yerevan

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Radiophysics and Electronics / Special Design Center, Armenia, Ashtarak

Collaborators

  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA, CO, Golden\nAmonix, Inc., USA, CA, Torrance

Project summary

Solar energy has been the dream of many visionaries, entrepreneurs, researchers, businesspeople, environmentalists and energy consumers. As the global oil reserves seem to have reached their peak production, a change in the energy system is becoming necessary. The promising technologies for use of solar radiation are the photovoltaic (PV) conversion of light directly into electricity, and the thermal conversion of solar rays into the heat.

The main problem with solar energy is in efficiently collecting this energy, converting it into highly available form. Existing solar generator systems still are too expensive. Solar energy systems are more expensive than conventional electricity mass production systems.

The main objective of the proposed project is to develop cost effective (low-cost, low-maintenance and reliable) hybrid photovoltaic and thermal (PV/T) solar energy systems for terrestrial applications.

Realization of this target will give the opportunity to:

  • reduce the high cost of solar energy systems and make the solar power an economically affordable reality to energy users;
  • use environmentally friendly solar energy systems and realize the complete benefits of solar power.

To achieve the project’s objective, the concentrator type PV/T solar energy system will be developed. This approach will allow to increase the solar energy system efficiency. In the frames of this project it is planned to conduct various research works. It is planned also the design, preparation and testing of the prototype of cost effective solar energy system. The following four principal problems are projected to be solved.
  1. Investigation and development of structure of the new, cost effective hybrid PV/T solar energy concentrator system and its components.
  2. Development of mathematical model and multi-parameter optimization method (algorithm) for the cost optimization of new PV/T solar energy concentrator systems.
  3. Development of computer program for the multi-parameter optimization and cost effective PV/T solar energy concentration power systems design.
  4. Design, preparation and testing of the prototype of cost effective hybrid PV/T solar energy system, generating 10 kW electric power and supplying 5000 liter hot water at 70 0C per day.

At present different types of sun concentrator systems (lens diffraction or mirror reflection) are used to reduce the high cost of flat PV modules. These designs are different, having various structures, concentrating optics, concentration ratio, tracking systems, solar cells’ cooling designs, and consequently, they have different costs. Despite of inherent cost reduction property of sun rays’ concentration, most existing PV concentrator systems are still expensive. The development of new type cost effective solar energy concentrator systems is planned in the frames of this project (first problem). Our approach is based on the application of flat glass mirrors, which are cheap, reliable and enable the low-cost manufacturing with standard off-the-shelf technologies. The structure of new PV/T concentrator system will be mirror reflecting linear focus type. It will have improved parameters: low fabrication cost; low maintenance; high reliability; and protection from environmental influences (wind, dust, rain, hail) during the exploitation. Conducted preliminary investigations ensure that this innovative approach will allow significantly reduce the price of solar energy system, because of simplicity of structure and use of cheap materials.

The theoretical and experimental investigations of all components of the new PV/T solar energy concentrator system will be conducted in the frames of first problem of this project. These investigations include:

  • Investigation of properties of mirror reflectors for solar radiation concentrating systems. Experimentally the spectral reflectance of different mirrors and the reflectance in dependence of angle of incident light will be investigated. On the base of obtained experimental results, the theoretical models of above mentioned dependences will be created. These results will be used during the solution of second and third problems.
  • Investigation and development of low cost and effective solar cells for applications in concentrator systems. The parameters of solar cells for concentrator applications will be improved, and the technology sequence for preparation will be developed. Different structures of solar cells will be prepared and tested.
  • Development of effective heat sink system for solar cells’ cooling and thermal energy accumulation. Different type heat sinks will be theoretically and experimentally investigated. The developed heat sinks will allow to obtain the hot water, i.e. to use the concentrated solar energy more effectively.
  • Development of low cost and high reliable solar tracking system. Preparation of laboratory models and testing.

The price of a solar energy concentrating system is strongly influenced by all parameters of the system (concentration rate, focus distance, tracking facility, parameters of solar cells, heat sink structure, etc.). Therefore, to reduce the cost of the concentrating system it is highly important to optimize all parameters of the system. For this purpose, the mathematical model and the multi-parameter optimization method of the new type solar energy concentrator systems will be realized (second problem). Solution of this problem will allow to optimize all parameters of PV/T solar energy system, and to design the system, which has the minimal price. To realize this multi-parameter optimization, a special computer program (software) is planned to be developed (third problem).

To enforce the application and marketing of results of research works, in the frames of proposed project the design, preparation and testing of the prototype of cost effective hybrid PV/T solar energy system, generating the 10 kW electric power and supplying 5000 liter hot water at 700C per day is planned (forth problem). The creation and testing of prototype will allow to analyze the operating parameters of developed cost effective PV/T solar energy system, and to realize the technology marketing follow-up activities.

All foreign collaborators of proposed project are well known researchers in the field of solar energy systems, and are the representatives of world famous organizations. During the realization of project active contacts will be established, and discussions will be conducted with collaborators.

Thus, the realization of project’s objective will allow to solve the highly important problem of creation of cost effective solar energy systems for different needs of population. The results of the proposed project will substantially impact the field of solar energy systems design and enlarge the solar energy powered systems’ applications.


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