The development and commercialization of Photovoltaic (PV) cells with good cost-efficiency trade-off not using critical raw materials (CRMs) is one of the strategies chosen by the European Community (EC) to address the Energy Roadmap 2050. In this context Cu2ZnSnS4(CZTS) solar cells are attracting a major interest since they have the potential to combine low price with relatively high conversion efficiencies. Although a ≈9% lab scale efficiency has already been reported for CZTS this technology is still far from being competitive in terms of cost per peak-power (€/Wp) with other common materials. One possible near-future solution to increase the CZTS competiveness comes from thermoelectrics. Actually it has already been shown that Hybrid Thermoelectric-Photovoltaic Systems (HTEPVs) based on CIGS, another kesterite very similar to CZTS, can lead to a significant efficiency improvement. However it has been also clarified how the optimal hybridization strategy cannot come from the simple coupling of solar cells with commercial TEGs, but special layouts have to be implemented. Furthermore, since solar cell performances are well known to decrease with temperature, thermal decoupling strategies of the PV and TEG sections have to be taken. To address these issues, we developed a model for two different HTEPV solutions, both coupled with CZTS solar cells. In the first case we considered a Thermally-Coupled HTEPV device (TC-HTEPV) in which the TEG is placed underneath the solar cell and in thermal contact with it. The second system consists instead of an Optically-Coupled but thermally decoupled device (OC-HTEPV) in which part of the solar spectrum is focused by a non-imaging optical concentrator on the TEG hot side. For both solutions the model returns conversion efficiencies higher than that of the CZTS solar cell alone. Specifically, increases of ≈30% are predicted for both kind of systems considered.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Materials Science(all)
- Condensed Matter Physics