A. Lashin, Mohammad Al Turkestani, M. Sabry
Jul 14, 2020
In order to maximize the output of concentrator Photovoltaic cells and maintain their efficiencies, the operating temperature of concentrator photovoltaic cells must be reduced. A way that could reduce such photovoltaic temperature is by thermally attaching them on top of a thermoelectric generator. A thermoelectric generator in such coupling will act as a low-cost passive-cooling subsystem, as well as a power generator for producing additional energy from the rejected photovoltaic heat. Increasing the area of the proposed photovoltaic cells relative to the thermoelectric generator’s hot-side area will result in an increase in the thermoelectric generator’s electrical output, but may also result in overheating the photovoltaic cells, hence reducing their performance. Optimization has to be performed for the photovoltaic covering percentage relative to the hot-side area in order to maximize the output of the whole coupled system. This work investigates the electrical and thermal performance of thermoelectric generators in the case of partial illumination of their hot side. Experiments have been carried out using three thermoelectric generator modules with different areas, and under two levels of concentrated illumination. The thermoelectric generator output voltage, current, and temperature have been measured, and the figure-of-merit and maximum power of the thermoelectric generator (TEG) has been calculated and demonstrated.