Applied Energy, Vol.236, 560-573, 2019
Feasibility analysis of a concentrating photovoltaic-thermoelectric-thermal cogeneration
This paper provides a novel solar energy utilization system that firstly achieves the cogeneration of photovoltaic, thermoelectric and high-grade heat. The novel concentrating photovoltaic-thermoelectric-thermal cogeneration system can overcome almost all of the disadvantages of the existing systems and provide a better way for solar energy utilization. The operating temperature, energy and exergy efficiency of the new system and the existing systems in different weather and seasons are first compared to demonstrate the superiority of the new structure. The new system is then optimized by investigating the effect of controlled temperature and thermoelectric structure on the hybrid performance to improve the solar energy utilization. Finally, the system array is proposed to reduce the system cost, and the economic analysis of the systems is conducted. The results indicate that when the solar irradiance is high, the new structure can well mitigate the temperature fluctuation caused by the varying solar irradiance and keep the photovoltaic cell operating at a safe temperature. The new system provides more exergy output than the existing systems because it produces both electricity and high-grade thermal output. When the solar irradiance is low, the new system behaviors similar to the concentrating photovoltaic-thermoelectric hybrid system, but it also provides more exergy output. All of the results demonstrate the significant advantages of the new system: efficient, stable and secure.