Near-field electroluminescent refrigerators (NFERs) have potential applications in thermal management. The input electricity can manipulate the photons’ electrochemical potential to realize heat transfer from cold side to hot side. However, the coupled properties and the overall optimum performances of the NFER driven by actual power sources have not been studied. A model of solar cell powered NFER is conceptually proposed and optimally designed. The electrical coupling characteristics between the solar cell and the NFER are discussed. The operating region of the NFER’s input voltage is provided. The structure and the electrical parameters are optimized to obtain the maximum efficiency. The effects of the vacuum gap, the emitter’s thickness, and the solar irradiance on the optimum performances are analyzed. Making trade-offs between the efficiency and cooling heat flow rate, the optimum region of solar irradiance is determined. The proposed model and the parametric optimal analysis can provide a route for solar-driven refrigerators.
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