25 August 2017 Reactive granular optics for passive tracking of the sun
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Abstract
The growing need for cost-effective renewable energy sources is hampered by the stagnation in solar cell technology, thus preventing a substantial reduction in the module and energy-production price. Lowering the energy-production cost could be achieved by using modules with efficiency. One of the possible means for increasing the module efficiency is concentrated photovoltaics (CPV). CPV, however, requires complex and accurate active tracking of the sun that reduces much of its cost-effectiveness. Here, we propose a passive tracking scheme based on a reactive optical device. The optical reaction is achieved by a new kind of light activated mechanical force that acts on micron-sized particles. This optical force allows the formation of granular disordered optical media that can be switched from being opaque to become transparent based on the intensity of light it interacts with. Such media gives rise to an efficient passive tracking scheme that when combined with an external optical cavity forms a new solar power conversion approach. Being external to the cell itself, this approach is indifferent to the type of semiconducting material that is used, as well as to other aspects of the cell design. This, in turn, liberates the cell layout from its optical constraints thus paving the way to higher efficiencies at lower module price.
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I. Frenkel, I. Frenkel, A. Niv, A. Niv, } "Reactive granular optics for passive tracking of the sun", Proc. SPIE 10368, Next Generation Technologies for Solar Energy Conversion VIII, 103680F (25 August 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2273191; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2273191
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