EPSRC logo

Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/G030820/1
Title: A novel design and analysis of 3D Building Integrated Concentrating Enhanced Photovoltaic Thermal system: BICEPT
Principal Investigator: Mallick, Professor TK
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Engineering and Physical Science
Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Scheme: First Grant Scheme
Starts: 01 September 2009 Ends: 31 August 2012 Value (£): 178,444
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Building Ops & Management Solar Technology
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
12 Nov 2008 Engineering Systems Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Given the threat posed by global warming, it is accepted widely that the potential photovoltaic renewable energy can be realised by (i) increasing their efficiencies, thus making them more viable; and at the same time to giving effective attention to minimising and (ii) using the heat generated in addition to electrical energy. Currently PV cells convert only typically 15 to 18% of the solar radiation into electricity, while the rest of the available energy is lost as heat or reflection. A key barrier to the widespread adoption of photovoltaics is achieving economic viability and reducing losses that occur due to increased temperature. One route towards enhanced efficiency is the use of a solar concentrator, as the area of the expensive photovoltaic cells can then be is reduced. Production of greater output per unit solar cell area can be achieved when solar radiation is concentrated on the photovoltaic via low cost reflecting/refracting materials. Many conceptual practical design, operation and control issues require further research to determine the most successful means by which solar concentration can be deployed for photovoltaics. One innovative approach has been to use the low concentration compound parabolic reflectors which enable the capture of a large part of the diffuse solar radiation in addition to the direct component. This is a particularly suitable approach in the climatic conditions in northern Europe, however, optical efficiency for 2D concentrators are limited to 85%, which can be inproved by developing 3D systems. A PV/T collector typically consists of a PV module at the rear of which an absorber plate (a heat extraction device) is attached. The purpose of the absorber is twofold. Firstly it cools the PV module and thus improves its electrical performance, and secondly it collects the thermal energy produced, which would otherwise been lost as heat to the environment. This collected heat could be used for low temperature applications such as domestic hot water production or space heating. In order to promote this type of solar system, it will be necessary to translate the basic concepts into efficient and functional technological components, and associated performance should be evaluated in a reliable manner. Electric energy production with photovoltaic/thermal solar hybrid system can be enhanced with the employment of concentrating devices. Concentrating PV operates at a relatively higher temperatures compared to the flat plate PV module, thus concentrating PV/T with overall efficiencies of 68% would be more appropriate for building integration enabling its efficiency improvement and domestic applications.This project will develop a non-tracking concentrating photovoltaic/thermal (CPV/T) system with optimised performance, which will be suitable for building faade/roof integration. As no tracking is required it is possible the cost of this system to reduce by two-fold, which makes more attractive for building integration. This will be undertaken through a new three dimensional design of a compound elliptical-hyperboloid concentrator of concentration ratios of 6.25 through a set of computation simulations together with controlled and outdoor tests. This design will enhance the optical efficiency of the concentrator unit and hence improve the overall electrical and thermal efficiency of the concentrating PV/T system. A prototype system will be made and indoor controlled characterisation will be undertaken at the HWU. Based on the process refinement one kWp system will be manufactured to characterise at outdoors test conditions. In addition, an integrated Optical, Heat transfer and Electrical (OHE) model will examine the PV/T system to optimise its performance.
Key Findings
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Potential use in non-academic contexts
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Description This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Date Materialised
Sectors submitted by the Researcher
This information can now be found on Gateway to Research (GtR) http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk
Project URL:  
Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.hw.ac.uk