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CELL COOLING BY PELTIER IN CONCENTRATED PHOTOVOLTAIC APPLICATIONS

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000196366D
Publication Date: 2010-Jun-02
Document File: 6 page(s) / 58K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A technique relating to concentrated photovoltaic cells is disclosed. The technique described herein proposes to separate the contradiction of low photovoltaic cell temperature to high coolant temperature by separating the generation of both by the use of a Peltier element.

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RP13387

CELL COOLING BY PELTIER IN CONCENTRATED PHOTOVOLTAIC APPLICATIONS

BRIEF ABSTRACT

    A technique relating to concentrated photovoltaic cells is disclosed. The technique described herein proposes to separate the contradiction of low photovoltaic cell temperature to high coolant temperature by separating the generation of both by the use of a Peltier element.

KEYWORDS

    Concentrated photovoltaic cells (CPV), Peltier element, photovoltaic converter, refractive concentrators, reflective concentrators, active cooling, efficiency.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

    Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors to focus a large area of sunlight onto a small area. Electrical power is produced by concentrating light onto photovoltaic surfaces. Alternately, concentrated light is used to heat a transfer fluid for a conventional power plant. The principle behind such CPV is to concentrate sunlight onto a small surface which is coupled to an energy converter. The converter may be a photovoltaic cell that converts radiation into electricity of a heat exchanger and raises the temperature to produce hot fluid or gas. One major challenge of using a photovoltaic converter is the cooling of the

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RP13387

PV cells. The PV cells are made from materials which usually are capable of withstanding temperatures of up to about 120°C. However in a CPV the temperature might often rise over 200°C. Hence there is a need for a method of carrying out concentrated PV cell cooling to prevent overheating of the PV cells beyond a temperature of 120°C.

    Conventionally, CPV utilizes two kinds of systems. The two kinds of systems include refractive concentrators, such as Fresnel lenses and reflective concentrators, such as parabolic mirrors or dishes. However, in both systems the photovoltaic cells need to be cooled. Such cooling is conventionally done passively by adding a heat sink to the cell, for example a copper plate. Cooling by such passive means involves the environmental air to dissipate the heat. Also such passive cooling requires a big surface. Passive cooling system is often used in flat plate CPV panels like Fresnel CPV. Another conventional approach is to use active cooling. In active cooling a working fluid like water, oil or gas is used as coolant and flows through a heat exchanger attached to the PV cells. Such active cooling systems are often used in dish or parabolic CPVs.

    The conventional techniques generally cool the PV cells to a temperature of around 70°C. In this way, a compromise is reached between the operational temperature of the cell, which needs to be as low as possible and the effort of the cooling system. However, a coolant at 70°C does not offer many possibilities for practical and wider applications. It can only be used for generating hot water for residential use. However 70°C as source temperature is required as a lower limit taking into account that this is the temperature at the heat exchanger. During the processes of...