Recovery Act - Solar Photovoltaic Holographic Cogeneration System
DOE is seeking innovative approaches to hybrid solar technologies that combine electrical and thermal energy generation. Such approaches promise to significantly increase the total operating efficiency of solar panels and reduce system costs and size with the cogeneration of heat and electricity; also, they will offer secondary benefits such as load shifting and cooler running PV cells/modules, hence increasing the conversion efficiencies. A new Solar Photovoltaic Holographic Cogeneration (SPHOC) system based on unique spectrum-splitting, sun-tracking spectral and angle multiplexed holographic concentrator (SAM-HOC) technology is proposed. SAM-HOC is the key SPHOC component. The SAM-HOC efficiently separates visible sunlight for the standard PV cells/modules from the thermal, or near infrared (NIR) portion of the solar spectrum, and diverts it to generate thermal or electric energy. Each angularly multiplexed SAM-HOC will receive sunlight from a select angle from sunrise to sunset, thereby eliminating the need for a mechanical solar tracking system. In Phase I, SPHOC feasibility was demonstrated by theoretical analysis, computer modeling of holographic optical elements (HOEs), and with a compact experimental prototype. The HOE spectral characteristics, including efficiency peak wavelengths and bandwidths of the prototype samples were studied via laboratory experiments, performance tests, and analysis of test results. Our successes firmly established SPHOC feasibility. Findings demonstrated that the proposed technology also has significant advantages over existing technologies. The advantages include the highly stable spectral characteristics of volume holographic multilayer polymer film, compact packaging in a single module that concentrates the wavelengths responsive to solar silicon and thermo PV cells, tunable bandwidths over the visible to NIR spectrum, and scalability in array fabrication to cover a large area.The goals of Phase II is to complete the SPHOC development to mature the technology so that the holographic optical elements will be mass producible and superior to state-of-the-art technologies in performance and cost. The successful completion of this project will yield not only a new compact, chromatic dispersion-compensated multiplexed HOE concentrators designed to receive the solar illumination from sunrise to sunset, without a mechanical solar tracking system but rather with easily configurable band centers and bandwidths. With no complex mechanical tracking system, the SPHOC technology will provide significant value to solar PV technology. These technologies are readily compatible with mass production techniques such as contact copying (contact printing of holograms) using roller (web)-based machines, which may lead to rapid commercialization of SPHOC holographic optical elements. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: This technology represents a huge market potential in the areas of alternative energy sources such as PV-powered farms and irrigation systems, heating water and generating electricity for field kitchens where no conventional power source is available and power supplies for solar automobiles, solar windows, and wireless/wired electronics. Its high concentration capability drastically lowers the required solar cell material, increasing the total operating efficiency of solar panels by reducing heat and allowing cells to run cooler on solar panels, and, correspondingly, the cost per watt, which make this an important component in the move to energy independence.
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