Theoretical Modeling of a Thermophotovoltaic System

Mattarolo, G., Bard, J.
ISET, Institut für Solare Energieversorgungstechnik, Kassel

Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) is an emerging technology based on the direct conversion of thermal radiation coming from a heat source into electricity by using photovoltaic (PV) cells. The first target for the TPV research is to break the threshold of 10% of efficiency, which would allow to start the commercialization of such technology in different applications.

Defining and simulating a theoretical model of a TPV system is fundamental in order to develop and optimize a new TPV prototype. The target of ISET is to develop a theoretical simulation model of a whole TPV system.

COMSOL Multiphysics Modeling is used to realize such comprehensive model of the system. Most of the work will be concentrated on the simulation of the heat transfer phenomenon in the recuperative micro channels heat exchanger and on the laminar diffusion flame in the burner. Besides these processes, the transmission of the radiation, the photovoltaic conversion and the cooling of the PV cells will be investigated in order to couple these phenomena and realize a simulation model of a complete TPV system.

In the first part of the paper the authors give an overview of this new technology and in the second part illustrate the approach to the modeling work with FEMLAB, showing the actual results of the simulation.