Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Next Generation of Concentrated Photovoltaics Using Node Concentrators

Project description

A new way to harness the power of the sun

The world's tendency towards clean energy has resulted in a constant and growing demand for more efficient and reliable photovoltaics. The EU-funded ConPhoNo project proposes a new invention consisting of a thin plastic foil capable of collecting sunlight and directing it to a point of intense light emission. The project will investigate open questions related to the application of the invention aiming to prepare the product for the market. Moreover, these concentration foils will be tested in concentrated photovoltaics (CPV), which is considered the leading concept in solar energy. The project’s objective is to prove that the concentration foils can successfully replace the existing Fresnel lens-based concentrators resulting in increasing the efficiency of CPVs while reducing production costs.

Objective

I invented a thin plastic foil capable of collecting sunlight from a certain incident angle and guiding it to a spot of intense light emission, thereby concentrating the light by a factor of 300 and more.

In the first step, ConPhoNo will evaluate the application of the foils for safety features. Here, the foils will be laminated to a product showing bright colorful pictures when properly aligned to the sun. This application exhibits a high chance of success as the technical feasibility has already been proven, and the relevant market is well-known by the ConPhoNo partner. It is therefore the goal to put these safety features on the market.

In parallel, the application of the concentrator foils will be tested in concentrated photovoltaics (CPV), which is the most efficient of all solar energy concepts (world record of 46%). In that case, solar cells will be placed at the spots of intense light emission. Differently from safety features, where a customer is actively checking a product for authenticity by holding it at the right angle into the sun, this is more complex in CPV.

In step two, the concentrators will be used with mechanical sun-tracking like state-of-the-art CPV. Here, the concentrator foils will replace the Fresnel lens based concentrators used today. I am confident that these concentrators are superior as they are a hundred times thinner, much easier to produce, and they enable bandgap matching, which may double the efficiency of CPV, reaching a theoretical limit of about 86%.

The ability to produce very thin concentrators will also increase the motivation of the CPV industry to scale down the bulkiness of the sun-tracking system.

In the third step, it will be evaluated if thin beam steering devices based on electro-wetting may become industrially available and if they can be combined with the new concentrators. The resulting thin CPV modules would drastically reduce the cost of CPV and literally boost worldwide solar energy production.

æ

Coordinator

BERGISCHE UNIVERSITAET WUPPERTAL
Net EU contribution
€ 150 000,00
Address
Gauss-strasse 20
42119 Wuppertal
Germany

See on map

Region
Nordrhein-Westfalen Düsseldorf Wuppertal, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
EU contribution
No data

Beneficiaries (1)