Matching Items (43)

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Towards high-efficiency thin-film solar cells: from theoretical analysis to experimental exploration

Description

GaAs single-junction solar cells have been studied extensively in recent years, and have reached over 28 % efficiency. Further improvement requires an optically thick but physically thin absorber to provide

GaAs single-junction solar cells have been studied extensively in recent years, and have reached over 28 % efficiency. Further improvement requires an optically thick but physically thin absorber to provide both large short-circuit current and high open-circuit voltage. By detailed simulation, it is concluded that ultra-thin GaAs cells with hundreds of nanometers thickness and reflective back scattering can potentially offer efficiencies greater than 30 %. The 300 nm GaAs solar cell with AlInP/Au reflective back scattering is carefully designed and demonstrates an efficiency of 19.1 %. The device performance is analyzed using the semi-analytical model with Phong distribution implemented to account for non-Lambertian scattering. A Phong exponent m of ~12, a non-radiative lifetime of 130 ns, and a specific series resistivity of 1.2 Ω·cm2 are determined.

Thin-film CdTe solar cells have also attracted lots of attention due to the continuous improvements in their device performance. To address the issue of the lower efficiency record compared to detailed-balance limit, the single-crystalline Cd(Zn)Te/MgCdTe double heterostructures (DH) grown on InSb (100) substrates by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) are carefully studied. The Cd0.9946Zn0.0054Te alloy lattice-matched to InSb has been demonstrated with a carrier lifetime of 0.34 µs observed in a 3 µm thick Cd0.9946Zn0.0054Te/MgCdTe DH sample. The substantial improvement of lifetime is due to the reduction in misfit dislocation density. The recombination lifetime and interface recombination velocity (IRV) of CdTe/MgxCd1-xTe DHs are investigated. The IRV is found to be dependent on both the MgCdTe barrier height and width due to the thermionic emission and tunneling processes. A record-long carrier lifetime of 2.7 µs and a record-low IRV of close to zero have been confirmed experimentally.

The MgCdTe/Si tandem solar cell is proposed to address the issue of high manufacturing costs and poor performance of thin-film solar cells. The MBE grown MgxCd1-xTe/MgyCd1-yTe DHs have demonstrated the required bandgap energy of 1.7 eV, a carrier lifetime of 11 ns, and an effective IRV of (1.869 ± 0.007) × 103 cm/s. The large IRV is attributed to thermionic-emission induced interface recombination. These understandings can be applied to fabricating the high-efficiency low-cost MgCdTe/Si tandem solar cell.

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  • 2015

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Misconceptions of emergent semiconductor phenomena

Description

The semiconductor field of Photovoltaics (PV) has experienced tremendous growth, requiring curricula to consider ways to promote student success. One major barrier to success students may face when learning PV

The semiconductor field of Photovoltaics (PV) has experienced tremendous growth, requiring curricula to consider ways to promote student success. One major barrier to success students may face when learning PV is the development of misconceptions. The purpose of this work was to determine the presence and prevalence of misconceptions students may have for three PV semiconductor phenomena; Diffusion, Drift and Excitation. These phenomena are emergent, a class of phenomena that have certain characteristics. In emergent phenomena, the individual entities in the phenomena interact and aggregate to form a self-organizing pattern that can be observed at a higher level. Learners develop a different type of misconception for these phenomena, an emergent misconception. Participants (N=41) completed a written protocol. The pilot study utilized half of these protocols (n = 20) to determine the presence of both general and emergent misconceptions for the three phenomena. Once the presence of both general and emergent misconceptions was confirmed, all protocols (N=41) were analyzed to determine the presence and prevalence of general and emergent misconceptions, and to note any relationships among these misconceptions (full study). Through written protocol analysis of participants' responses, numerous codes emerged from the data for both general and emergent misconceptions. General and emergent misconceptions were found in 80% and 55% of participants' responses, respectively. General misconceptions indicated limited understandings of chemical bonding, electricity and magnetism, energy, and the nature of science. Participants also described the phenomena using teleological, predictable, and causal traits, indicating participants had misconceptions regarding the emergent aspects of the phenomena. For both general and emergent misconceptions, relationships were observed between similar misconceptions within and across the three phenomena, and differences in misconceptions were observed across the phenomena. Overall, the presence and prevalence of both general and emergent misconceptions indicates that learners have limited understandings of the physical and emergent mechanisms for the phenomena. Even though additional work is required, the identification of specific misconceptions can be utilized to enhance semiconductor and PV course content. Specifically, changes can be made to curriculum in order to limit the formation of misconceptions as well as promote conceptual change.

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  • 2014

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A single-phase current source solar inverter with constant instantaneous power, improved reliability, and reduced-size DC-link filter

Description

This dissertation presents a novel current source converter topology that is primarily intended for single-phase photovoltaic (PV) applications. In comparison with the existing PV inverter technology, the salient features of

This dissertation presents a novel current source converter topology that is primarily intended for single-phase photovoltaic (PV) applications. In comparison with the existing PV inverter technology, the salient features of the proposed topology are: a) the low frequency (double of line frequency) ripple that is common to single-phase inverters is greatly reduced; b) the absence of low frequency ripple enables significantly reduced size pass components to achieve necessary DC-link stiffness and c) improved maximum power point tracking (MPPT) performance is readily achieved due to the tightened current ripple even with reduced-size passive components. The proposed topology does not utilize any electrolytic capacitors. Instead an inductor is used as the DC-link filter and reliable AC film capacitors are utilized for the filter and auxiliary capacitor. The proposed topology has a life expectancy on par with PV panels. The proposed modulation technique can be used for any current source inverter where an unbalanced three-phase operation is desires such as active filters and power controllers. The proposed topology is ready for the next phase of microgrid and power system controllers in that it accepts reactive power commands. This work presents the proposed topology and its working principle supported by with numerical verifications and hardware results. Conclusions and future work are also presented.

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  • 2013

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Improved convex optimal decision-making processes in distribution systems: enable grid integration of photovoltaic resources and distributed energy storage

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This research mainly focuses on improving the utilization of photovoltaic (PV) re-sources in distribution systems by reducing their variability and uncertainty through the integration of distributed energy storage (DES) devices,

This research mainly focuses on improving the utilization of photovoltaic (PV) re-sources in distribution systems by reducing their variability and uncertainty through the integration of distributed energy storage (DES) devices, like batteries, and smart PV in-verters. The adopted theoretical tools include statistical analysis and convex optimization. Operational issues have been widely reported in distribution systems as the penetration of PV resources has increased. Decision-making processes for determining the optimal allo-cation and scheduling of DES, and the optimal placement of smart PV inverters are con-sidered. The alternating current (AC) power flow constraints are used in these optimiza-tion models. The first two optimization problems are formulated as quadratically-constrained quadratic programming (QCQP) problems while the third problem is formu-lated as a mixed-integer QCQP (MIQCQP) problem. In order to obtain a globally opti-mum solution to these non-convex optimization problems, convex relaxation techniques are introduced. Considering that the costs of the DES are still very high, a procedure for DES sizing based on OpenDSS is proposed in this research to avoid over-sizing.

Some existing convex relaxations, e.g. the second order cone programming (SOCP) relaxation and semidefinite programming (SDP) relaxation, which have been well studied for the optimal power flow (OPF) problem work unsatisfactorily for the DES and smart inverter optimization problems. Several convex constraints that can approximate the rank-1 constraint X = xxT are introduced to construct a tighter SDP relaxation which is referred to as the enhanced SDP (ESDP) relaxation using a non-iterative computing framework. Obtaining the convex hull of the AC power flow equations is beneficial for mitigating the non-convexity of the decision-making processes in power systems, since the AC power flow constraints exist in many of these problems. The quasi-convex hull of the quadratic equalities in the AC power bus injection model (BIM) and the exact convex hull of the quadratic equality in the AC power branch flow model (BFM) are proposed respectively in this thesis. Based on the convex hull of BFM, a novel convex relaxation of the DES optimizations is proposed. The proposed approaches are tested on a real world feeder in Arizona and several benchmark IEEE radial feeders.

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  • 2016

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Photovoltaic sub-module integrated converter analysis

Description

With the rapid expansion of the photovoltaic industry over the last decade, there has been a huge demand in the PV installations in the residential sector. This thesis focuses on

With the rapid expansion of the photovoltaic industry over the last decade, there has been a huge demand in the PV installations in the residential sector. This thesis focuses on the analysis and implementation of a dc-dc boost converter at photovoltaic sub-module level. The thesis also analyses the various topologies like switched capacitors and extended duty ratio which can be practically implemented in the photovoltaic panels. The results obtained in this work have concentrated on the use of novel strategies to substitute the use of central dc-dc converter used in PV module string connection. The implementation of distributed MPPT at the PV sub-module level is also an integral part of this thesis. Using extensive PLECS simulations, this thesis came to the conclusion that with the design of a proper compensation at the dc interconnection of a series or parallel PV Module Integrated Converter string, the central dc-dc converter can be substituted. The dc-ac interconnection voltage remains regulated at all irradiance level even without a dc-dc central converter at the string end. The foundation work for the hardware implementation has also been carried out. Design of parameters for future hardware implementation has also been presented in detail in this thesis.

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  • 2012

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Environmental, policy and social analysis of photovoltaic technologies

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Many expect renewable energy technologies to play a leading role in a sustainable energy supply system and to aid the shift away from an over-reliance on traditional hydrocarbon resources in

Many expect renewable energy technologies to play a leading role in a sustainable energy supply system and to aid the shift away from an over-reliance on traditional hydrocarbon resources in the next few decades. This dissertation develops environmental, policy and social models to help understand various aspects of photovoltaic (PV) technologies. The first part of this dissertation advances the life cycle assessment (LCA) of PV systems by expanding the boundary of included processes using hybrid LCA and accounting for the technology-driven dynamics of environmental impacts. Hybrid LCA extends the traditional method combining bottom-up process-sum and top-down economic input-output (EIO) approaches. The embodied energy and carbon of multi-crystalline silicon photovoltaic systems are assessed using hybrid LCA. From 2001 to 2010, the embodied energy and carbon fell substantially, indicating that technological progress is realizing reductions in environmental impacts in addition to lower module price. A variety of policies support renewable energy adoption, and it is critical to make them function cooperatively. To reveal the interrelationships among these policies, the second part of this dissertation proposes three tiers of policy architecture. This study develops a model to determine the specific subsidies required to support a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) goal. The financial requirements are calculated (in two scenarios) and compared with predictable funds from public sources. A main result is that the expected investments to achieve the RPS goal far exceed the economic allocation for subsidy of distributed PV. Even with subsidies there are often challenges with social acceptance. The third part of this dissertation originally develops a fuzzy logic inference model to relate consumers' attitudes about the technology such as perceived cost, maintenance, and environmental concern to their adoption intention. Fuzzy logic inference model is a type of soft computing models. It has the advantage of dealing with imprecise and insufficient information and mimicking reasoning processes of human brains. This model is implemented in a case study of residential PV adoption using data through a survey of homeowners in Arizona. The output of this model is the purchasing probability of PV.

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  • 2010

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Probabilistic power flow studies to examine the influence of photovoltaic generation on transmission system reliability

Description

Photovoltaic (PV) power generation has the potential to cause a significant impact on power system reliability since its total installed capacity is projected to increase at a significant rate. PV

Photovoltaic (PV) power generation has the potential to cause a significant impact on power system reliability since its total installed capacity is projected to increase at a significant rate. PV generation can be described as an intermittent and variable resource because its production is influenced by ever-changing environmental conditions. The study in this dissertation focuses on the influence of PV generation on trans-mission system reliability. This is a concern because PV generation output is integrated into present power systems at various voltage levels and may significantly affect the power flow patterns. This dissertation applies a probabilistic power flow (PPF) algorithm to evaluate the influence of PV generation uncertainty on transmission system perfor-mance. A cumulant-based PPF algorithm suitable for large systems is used. Correlation among adjacent PV resources is considered. Three types of approximation expansions based on cumulants namely Gram-Charlier expansion, Edgeworth expansion and Cor-nish-Fisher expansion are compared, and their properties, advantages and deficiencies are discussed. Additionally, a novel probabilistic model of PV generation is developed to obtain the probability density function (PDF) of the PV generation production based on environmental conditions. Besides, this dissertation proposes a novel PPF algorithm considering the conven-tional generation dispatching operation to balance PV generation uncertainties. It is pru-dent to include generation dispatch in the PPF algorithm since the dispatching strategy compensates for PV generation injections and influences the uncertainty results. Fur-thermore, this dissertation also proposes a probabilistic optimal power dispatching strat-egy which considers uncertainty problems in the economic dispatch and optimizes the expected value of the total cost with the overload probability as a constraint. The proposed PPF algorithm with the three expansions is compared with Monte Carlo simulations (MCS) with results for a 2497-bus representation of the Arizona area of the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC) system. The PDFs of the bus voltages, line flows and slack bus production are computed, and are used to identify the confidence interval, the over limit probability and the expected over limit time of the ob-jective variables. The proposed algorithm is of significant relevance to the operating and planning studies of the transmission systems with PV generation installed.

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  • 2012

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A study of two high efficiency energy conversion processes: semiconductor photovoltaics and semiconductor luminescence refrigeration

Description

As the world energy demand increases, semiconductor devices with high energy conversion efficiency become more and more desirable. The energy conversion consists of two distinct processes, namely energy generation

As the world energy demand increases, semiconductor devices with high energy conversion efficiency become more and more desirable. The energy conversion consists of two distinct processes, namely energy generation and usage. In this dissertation, novel multi-junction solar cells and light emitting diodes (LEDs) are proposed and studied for high energy conversion efficiency in both processes, respectively. The first half of this dissertation discusses the practically achievable energy conversion efficiency limit of solar cells. Since the demonstration of the Si solar cell in 1954, the performance of solar cells has been improved tremendously and recently reached 41.6% energy conversion efficiency. However, it seems rather challenging to further increase the solar cell efficiency. The state-of-the-art triple junction solar cells are analyzed to help understand the limiting factors. To address these issues, the monolithically integrated II-VI and III-V material system is proposed for solar cell applications. This material system covers the entire solar spectrum with a continuous selection of energy bandgaps and can be grown lattice matched on a GaSb substrate. Moreover, six four-junction solar cells are designed for AM0 and AM1.5D solar spectra based on this material system, and new design rules are proposed. The achievable conversion efficiencies for these designs are calculated using the commercial software package Silvaco with real material parameters. The second half of this dissertation studies the semiconductor luminescence refrigeration, which corresponds to over 100% energy usage efficiency. Although cooling has been realized in rare-earth doped glass by laser pumping, semiconductor based cooling is yet to be realized. In this work, a device structure that monolithically integrates a GaAs hemisphere with an InGaAs/GaAs quantum-well thin slab LED is proposed to realize cooling in semiconductor. The device electrical and optical performance is calculated. The proposed device then is fabricated using nine times photolithography and eight masks. The critical process steps, such as photoresist reflow and dry etch, are simulated to insure successful processing. Optical testing is done with the devices at various laser injection levels and the internal quantum efficiency, external quantum efficiency and extraction efficiency are measured.

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Date Created
  • 2010

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Solar micro inverter modeling and reliability

Description

The demand for cleaner energy technology is increasing very rapidly. Hence it is

important to increase the eciency and reliability of this emerging clean energy technologies.

This thesis focuses on modeling and

The demand for cleaner energy technology is increasing very rapidly. Hence it is

important to increase the eciency and reliability of this emerging clean energy technologies.

This thesis focuses on modeling and reliability of solar micro inverters. In

order to make photovoltaics (PV) cost competitive with traditional energy sources,

the economies of scale have been guiding inverter design in two directions: large,

centralized, utility-scale (500 kW) inverters vs. small, modular, module level (300

W) power electronics (MLPE). MLPE, such as microinverters and DC power optimizers,

oer advantages in safety, system operations and maintenance, energy yield,

and component lifetime due to their smaller size, lower power handling requirements,

and module-level power point tracking and monitoring capability [1]. However, they

suer from two main disadvantages: rst, depending on array topology (especially

the proximity to the PV module), they can be subjected to more extreme environments

(i.e. temperature cycling) during the day, resulting in a negative impact to

reliability; second, since solar installations can have tens of thousands to millions of

modules (and as many MLPE units), it may be dicult or impossible to track and

repair units as they go out of service. Therefore identifying the weak links in this

system is of critical importance to develop more reliable micro inverters.

While an overwhelming majority of time and research has focused on PV module

eciency and reliability, these issues have been largely ignored for the balance

of system components. As a relatively nascent industry, the PV power electronics

industry does not have the extensive, standardized reliability design and testing procedures

that exist in the module industry or other more mature power electronics

industries (e.g. automotive). To do so, the critical components which are at risk and

their impact on the system performance has to be studied. This thesis identies and

addresses some of the issues related to reliability of solar micro inverters.

This thesis presents detailed discussions on various components of solar micro inverter

and their design. A micro inverter with very similar electrical specications in

comparison with commercial micro inverter is modeled in detail and veried. Components

in various stages of micro inverter are listed and their typical failure mechanisms

are reviewed. A detailed FMEA is conducted for a typical micro inverter to identify

the weak links of the system. Based on the S, O and D metrics, risk priority number

(RPN) is calculated to list the critical at-risk components. Degradation of DC bus

capacitor is identied as one the failure mechanism and the degradation model is built

to study its eect on the system performance. The system is tested for surge immunity

using standard ring and combinational surge waveforms as per IEEE 62.41 and

IEC 61000-4-5 standards. All the simulation presented in this thesis is performed

using PLECS simulation software.

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  • 2015

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A statistical approach to solar photovoltaic module lifetime prediction

Description

The main objective of this research is to develop an approach to PV module lifetime prediction. In doing so, the aim is to move from empirical generalizations to a formal

The main objective of this research is to develop an approach to PV module lifetime prediction. In doing so, the aim is to move from empirical generalizations to a formal predictive science based on data-driven case studies of the crystalline silicon PV systems. The evaluation of PV systems aged 5 to 30 years old that results in systematic predictive capability that is absent today. The warranty period provided by the manufacturers typically range from 20 to 25 years for crystalline silicon modules. The end of lifetime (for example, the time-to-degrade by 20% from rated power) of PV modules is usually calculated using a simple linear extrapolation based on the annual field degradation rate (say, 0.8% drop in power output per year). It has been 26 years since systematic studies on solar PV module lifetime prediction were undertaken as part of the 11-year flat-plate solar array (FSA) project of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) funded by DOE. Since then, PV modules have gone through significant changes in construction materials and design; making most of the field data obsolete, though the effect field stressors on the old designs/materials is valuable to be understood. Efforts have been made to adapt some of the techniques developed to the current technologies, but they are too often limited in scope and too reliant on empirical generalizations of previous results. Some systematic approaches have been proposed based on accelerated testing, but no or little experimental studies have followed. Consequently, the industry does not exactly know today how to test modules for a 20 - 30 years lifetime.

This research study focuses on the behavior of crystalline silicon PV module technology in the dry and hot climatic condition of Tempe/Phoenix, Arizona. A three-phase approach was developed: (1) A quantitative failure modes, effects, and criticality analysis (FMECA) was developed for prioritizing failure modes or mechanisms in a given environment; (2) A time-series approach was used to model environmental stress variables involved and prioritize their effect on the power output drop; and (3) A procedure for developing a prediction model was proposed for the climatic specific condition based on accelerated degradation testing

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Date Created
  • 2014