Thermal (Solar) Photovoltaics Using Luminescence Upconversions
79814S Next generation, high-efficiency photovoltaic systems can play a significant role in addressing the global need for renewable energy sources. Effective photovoltaic systems must maximize absorption across the solar spectrum, while minimizing fundamental heat losses. In order to achieve this goal, several new approaches, which predominantly focus on the use of multiple band-gaps, are currently being explored. A more universal approach is provided by the conversion of heat into electricity, a process that is suitable to non-solar energy conversion as well. This project will develop technology to efficiently convert heat into electricity by means of a luminescence upconversion process. During Phase I, an experimental and theoretical analysis of the optical properties of several semiconductor materials will be performed under relevant operating conditions. From this analysis, critical components will be identified, and the feasibility of the proposed energy conversion process will be assessed. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: Compared to other thermal energy converters, the luminescence upconversion approach should provide higher efficiencies in a compact, monolithic (all solid-state) design with relatively cheap components, and long lifetime. The approach would provide renewable energy in situations where other photovoltaic approaches cannot ¿ e.g. in industrial plant heat exchangers, geothermal sources and power plants ¿ in addition to providing efficient solar energy conversion into electricity. In addition, the upconversion approach should add value to existing and future photovoltaic systems, allowing the waste heat generated by those systems to be converted with increases in overall efficiency.
Small Business Information at Submission:
2572 White Road Irvine, CA 92614
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