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THERMAL IMPACTS ON PERFORMANCES OF NANOSCALE-GAP THERMOPHOTOVOLTAIC ENERGY CONVERSION DEVICES

DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.2010.RAD-6.550
pages 62-64

Mathieu Francoeur
Dept.of Mechanical Engineering, University of Utah; and Radiative Transfer Laboratory,Dept. of Mechanical Engineering,University of Kentucky, USA; and Département de Génie Mécanique, Université Laval, Québec, G1K 7P4, Canada

M. Pinar Menguc
Center for Energy, Environment and Economy (CEEE), Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ozyegin University, Cekmekoy, 34794, Istanbul Turkey; and University of Kentucky, Radiative Transfer Laboratory, Lexington, KY 40506, USA

Rodolphe Vaillon
Centre de Thermique de Lyon (CETHIL, CNRS/INSA Lyon/UCBL), Domaine Scientifique de La Doua, 20 av. A. Einstein, 69621 Villeurbanne Cedex, France

Resumo

In thermophotovoltaic (TPV) energy conversion, a heat source is employed to maintain a radiator at a specified temperature, which in turns emits thermal radiation toward a cell generating electricity. In order to potentially improve the power output and conversion efficiency of TPV systems, Whale and Cravalho [1] proposed to separate the radiator and TPV cells by a sub-wavelength vacuum gap. At sub-wavelength distances, radiation heat transfer is in the near-field regime, such that the energy exchanges can exceed the values predicted for blackbodies. For thermal radiation temperatures, the near-field effects become dominant when the bodies are separated by few tens of nanometers. Therefore, a TPV system using the near-field effects of thermal radiation is referred hereafter as a nanoscalegap TPV (nano-TPV) device. While the literature has clearly shown that the near-field effects of thermal radiation can substantially improve the electrical power output of TPV systems [1-3], some important questions about the feasibility of nano-TPV energy conversion are still unanswered. In this work, we aim to study the energy required for maintaining the TPV cells at room temperature via the analysis of the thermal effects in nano-TPV devices. For purpose of comparison with the literature, we study systems based on In0.18Ga0.82Sb cells [3].

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