PHOTO : Systems - Integrated hybrid photovoltaic-thermoelectric systems
The conversion efficiency of photovoltaic cells is currently mainly limited by the fact that the absorber material is defined by its bandgap energy and is therefore not tuned to the broadband solar source. These intrinsic losses can represent up to 50 % of the incident solar energy, which is then lost or dissipated as heat into the photovoltaic cell. In order to harvest this energy, our approach is to integrate the solar cell into a photovoltaic-thermoelectric (PV-TE) hybrid system to demonstrate a breakthrough in the conversion efficiency.
Our work aims to integrate a multifunctional nanostructured interface between the solar cell and the thermoelectric generator to fully exploit the synergy between the two components of the system. In particular, one of the approaches we study is to recover the energy of the infrared photons non absorbed in the cell through this structured interface in order to convert it into electrical energy in the thermoelectric part of the system. In the long term, our ambition is to design an integrated PV-TE system architecture including an interface combining optical, electrical and thermal functionalities to simultaneously manage photons and phonons in the system.
Schematic of an hybrid photovoltaic-thermoelectric system integrating a multifunctional interface
PEPS Cellule Energie CNRS ELIOS