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Improving Solar panels efficiency?

Posted by o_lampe 
Improving Solar panels efficiency?
September 16, 2018 10:41AM
A few years back I had the idea to improve solar panels efficiency with nano-lenses.

IMHO most of the photons 'miss' their target in a silicon-wafer and only increase temperature.
If it's possible to focus the photons 'to the right place' in the silicon molecule-grid, we'd see increased efficiency over a wider temp-range.

Thought it was worth mentioning it here, since we have a Nanotec-expert on board...
VDX
Re: Improving Solar panels efficiency?
September 16, 2018 12:23PM
... one relative simple idea is to "grow" micro-pyramides on the panels, what's catching ambient and diffuse light too. One friend of mine did this as project, but the results weren't published eye rolling smiley

A more "nano-tech" concept is a concurrent design with carbon nanotubes, grown perpendicular on a contact array and covered with a thin transparent sheet with another contact field to get the voltage difference.

The carbon nanotubes are extreme efficient photon-absorbers (they are "total black") and can even release more than one electron per photon, if the energy is high enough.

Their "mechanical structure" is a tube and with a potential from tip to bottom (between the two electrodes) they can interact with photons and electrons in some "funny" ways, what's not researched in detph, but could show some more surprises in respect to energy generation or transforming cool smiley


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VDX
Re: Improving Solar panels efficiency?
September 16, 2018 12:36PM
... to put another idea in the pot - search for the Seebeck-effect (inverse to Peltier-coolers, will generate current with temperature differences).

Seebeck-elements are simply two wires of metals with different "electrical series", e.g. constantan vs. iron (el.series = -35 vs. +19 ... but e.g. bismut vs. silizium will give much more: -72 vs. +440 ... and selen is even +900!), the ends fused together, will generate some current when heating the contact point.

To get more current, more pieces of this two material can be connected alternating and when putting all "even" points together and all "odd" too, then a temperature difference between the "even" and "odd" points will create the more current, the more contact points.

As this "connecting" can be done much easier than making photovoltaics, this coud be a much easier approach for "DIY solar generators" - think about heating with concentrated sun light to +300 degC and cooling in the shadow of the element or with water (if handy around) ...

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2018 12:38PM by VDX.


Viktor
--------
Aufruf zum Projekt "Müll-freie Meere" - [reprap.org]
Call for the project "garbage-free seas" - [reprap.org]
Re: Improving Solar panels efficiency?
October 02, 2018 08:25PM
Solid state thermal generators sound fun, I'd love to have a go at a DIY version though that's probably in the distant future for me. Any idea how their efficiency compares to something like a dyno or other generator?

Also, while they may be useful on a large scale as a power plant on their own, I'm thinking about how many things we use produce "waste" heat. I'm guessing these thermoelectric generators can be fairly compact, especially compared to a traditional steam and turbine generator so they may be useful when attached to thinks that leak or create waste heat.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/02/2018 08:28PM by Trakyan.
Re: Improving Solar panels efficiency?
October 03, 2018 01:50AM
Quote

traditional steam and turbine generator

It's a shame that even the most modern power plants have to use this vintage technology. That's why they switch on/off wind turbines instead when power demand changes quickly.
Re: Improving Solar panels efficiency?
November 10, 2018 05:57AM
Use a solar concentrator, Avoid shaded areas,Clean your solar panels,Maintain proper temperature level. These might be helpful in improving solar panels efficiency.
Re: Improving Solar panels efficiency?
November 10, 2018 06:55AM
Quote
Trakyan
Solid state thermal generators sound fun, I'd love to have a go at a DIY version though that's probably in the distant future for me. Any idea how their efficiency compares to something like a dyno or other generator?

Any type of generator from thermal energy is limited in efficiency by the second law of thermodynamics. The maximum theoretical efficiency of a heat engine (which no engine ever attains) is equal to the temperature difference between the hot and cold ends divided by the temperature at the hot end, all expressed as absolute temperatures.

What this means in practice is that to make an efficient solar-to-thermal-to-electric generator, you need to reach high temperatures. This has been done in a large scale plant (see [en.wikipedia.org]); but it appears to be impractical for a small system, given that Seebeck converters are not very efficient (only 5% to 8% according to Wikipedia). Also, solar-to-thermal power stations only work in bright sunlight (because they need to produce high temperatures); whereas solar PV systems produce power (but less of it) in diffuse light too.

Of course, using solar energy to heat water directly to provide domestic hot water is practical.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/10/2018 07:03AM by dc42.


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