Date of Award
Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
Use of solar energy for electric power generation by means of photovoltaic (PV) cells have shown tremendous growth in recent years due to increased effort to decarbonise the economy as well as for sustainable growth of energy supply. However, low conversion efficiency has been a major issue for commercial application of PV system. Past research has shown that the conversion efficiency drops even further at high operating temperature. Various thermal management techniques to cool the PV cells have shown an increase in cell efficiency. In this investigation, thermal regulation experiments are carried out to improve conversion efficiency and power output at high operating temperatures by using paraffin wax based phase change materials (PCM) as a means of thermal management of silicon PV cell. Phase change materials absorb a large amount of heat isothermally during phase change and keep the PV panel at lower temperature during change of phase. A PCM container is devised for retrofitting to commercial PV panel. Fins are fitted inside the container as well as on the external back surface to improve thermal conductivity of the PCM as well as enhance heat transfer away from the container. The effect of placing fins for enhancement of heat transfer from the PV to PCM and PCM to environment is studied. Results indicate a decrease in average cell temperature and an enhancement in efficiency by proposed configurations of fins. Results indicate a substantial drop in average cell temperature as compared to a reference PV cell with no PCM. An increase in cell voltage output and efficiency was also noticed.
Ghosal, Joyjit, "Thermal management of photovoltaic panel using PCM for improved efficiency and power output" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 7638.