From Event: SPIE Optics + Photonics for Sustainable Energy, 2016
We successfully demonstrated and reported the highest solar-to-hydrogen efficiency with crystalline silicon cells and Earth-abundant electrocatalysts under unconcentrated solar radiation. The combination of hetero-junction silicon cells and a 3D printed Platinum/Iridium-Oxide electrolyzer has been proven to work continuously for more than 24 hours in neutral environment, with a stable 13.5% solar-to-fuel efficiency. Since the hydrogen economy is expected to expand to a global scale, we demonstrated the same efficiency with an Earth-abundant electrolyzer based on Nickel in a basic medium. In both cases, electrolyzer and photovoltaic cells have been specifically sized for their characteristic curves to intersect at a stable operating point. This is foreseen to guarantee constant operation over the device lifetime without performance degradation. The next step is to lower the production cost of hydrogen by making use of medium range solar concentration. It permits to limit the photoabsorbing area, shown to be the cost-driver component. We have recently modeled a self-tracking solar concentrator, able to capture sunlight within the acceptance angle range +/-45°, implementing 3 custom lenses. The design allows a fully static device, avoiding the external tracker that was necessary in a previously demonstrated +/-16° angular range concentrator. We will show two self-tracking methods. The first one relies on thermal expansion whereas the second method relies on microfluidics.
Enrico Chinello, Miguel A. Modestino, Jan-Willem Schüttauf, David Lambelet, Antonio Delfino, Didier Dominé, Antonin Faes, Matthieu Despeisse, Julien Bailat, Demetri Psaltis, David Fernandez Rivas, Christophe Ballif, and Christophe Moser, "Solar-hydrogen generation and solar concentration
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9937, Next Generation Technologies for Solar Energy Conversion VII, 99370Q (Presented at SPIE Optics + Photonics for Sustainable Energy: August 31, 2016; Published: 2 November 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2237330.5167077699001.
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