A spectral fluid filter for potential use in hybrid photovoltaic/thermal concentrating solar collectors has been developed, targeting maximum absorption above and transmission below a desired wavelength. In this application, the temperature-dependent bandgap of the potential solar cell is used in the optimization of the filter. Dispersing a mix of colloidal nanoparticles in a heat transfer fluid is shown to absorb 86% of sub-bandgap insolation while absorbing only 18% above bandgap insolation. Transmission above bandgap light would be directly absorbed into the photovoltaic (PV) cell while absorbed photons transfer energy directly into the heat transfer fluid ultimately reducing the number of heat transfer steps. Placement of a filter in front of the PV cell is shown to decrease losses by converting an additional 2% of the total solar energy into thermal energy since it allows recollection of light reflected off the receiver.
We propose a design for a concentrating PV/T collector utilizing plasmonic nanoparticles directly suspended in the working fluid to spectrally filter the incoming solar flux. This liquid filter serves two purposes: the direct capture of thermal energy as well as filtering off of key portions of the spectrum before transmission to the PV cell. Our device builds upon the current Cogenra T14 system with a two-pass architecture: the first pass on the back side of the PV cell pre-heating the fluid from any thermalization losses, and the second pass in front of the PV cell to achieve the spectral filtering. Here we present details on the selection of plasmonic nanoparticles for a given cell bandgap as well as the impact to the overall system pumping power and cost.