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Design and Optimization of Thermal Selective Emitters for High-Efficiency Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) Power Generation

[+] Author Affiliations
Anil Yuksel, John R. Howell

The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Alex Heltzel

PC Krause and Associates, Inc., West Lafayette, IN

Paper No. ES2015-49581, pp. V001T10A003; 8 pages
  • ASME 2015 9th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2015 Power Conference, the ASME 2015 13th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology, and the ASME 2015 Nuclear Forum
  • Volume 1: Advances in Solar Buildings and Conservation; Climate Control and the Environment; Alternate Fuels and Infrastructure; ARPA-E; Combined Energy Cycles, CHP, CCHP, and Smart Grids; Concentrating Solar Power; Economic, Environmental, and Policy Aspects of Alternate Energy; Geothermal Energy, Harvesting, Ocean Energy and Other Emerging Technologies; Hydrogen Energy Technologies; Low/Zero Emission Power Plants and Carbon Sequestration; Micro and Nano Technology Applications and Materials
  • San Diego, California, USA, June 28–July 2, 2015
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division, Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5684-0
  • Copyright © 2015 by ASME


Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) devices are popular energy converters due to providing low noise, low thermal-mechanical stresses and portability. The conversion efficiency of TPVs is still low due to mistuned spectral properties between thermal selective emitters and the TPV cell. Using thermal selective emitters that are well-matched to the TPV cell spectrum enhances the conversion efficiency of TPVs. Several thermal selective emitters, composed of 1-D complex multilayer structures with rectangular gratings, have been proposed. Cost, fabrication and stability factors have been major problems for their application on TPV modules. In this paper, a 1-D tungsten thermal emitter is optimized which exhibits close to blackbody emittance near the band-gap of a GaInAsSb TPV cell and sharp cutoff for longer wavelengths. The emitter is at 1200K, and is designed and optimized by modeling triangular grooves to excite localized groove modes which are well-matched to the GaInAsSb TPV cell external quantum efficiency (EQE) for high efficiency energy conversion. We suggest that a quasi-monochromatic, narrow-band and coherent emitter at a frequency near the energy band-gap of the converter is an ideal source to achieve high conversion efficiency.

Copyright © 2015 by ASME



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