Hybrid solar collector using nonimaging optics and photovoltaic components
The project team of University of California at Merced (UC-M), Gas Technology Institute, and Dr. Eli Yablonovitch of University of California at Berkeley developed a novel hybrid concentrated solar photovoltaic thermal (PV/T) collector using nonimaging optics and world record single-junction Gallium arsenide (GaAs) PV components integrated with particle laden gas as thermal transfer and storage media, to simultaneously generate electricity and high temperature dispatchable heat. The collector transforms a parabolic trough, commonly used in CSP plants, into an integrated spectrum-splitting device. This places a spectrum-sensitive topping element on a secondary reflector that is registered to the thermal collection loop. The secondary reflector transmits higher energy photons for PV topping while diverting the remaining lower energy photons to the thermal media, achieving temperatures of around 400°C even under partial utilization of the solar spectrum. The collector uses the spectral selectivity property of Gallium arsenide (GaAs) cells to maximize the exergy output of the system, resulting in an estimated exergy efficiency of 48%. The thermal media is composed of fine particles of high melting point material in an inert gas that increases heat transfer and effectively stores excess heat in hot particles for later on-demand use. © (2015) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.