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Indoor soiling method and outdoor statistical risk analysis of photovoltaic power plants

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This is a two-part thesis.

Part 1 presents an approach for working towards the development of a standardized artificial soiling method for laminated photovoltaic (PV) cells or mini-modules. Construction of an artificial chamber to maintain controlled environmental conditions and components/chemicals used

This is a two-part thesis.

Part 1 presents an approach for working towards the development of a standardized artificial soiling method for laminated photovoltaic (PV) cells or mini-modules. Construction of an artificial chamber to maintain controlled environmental conditions and components/chemicals used in artificial soil formulation is briefly explained. Both poly-Si mini-modules and a single cell mono-Si coupons were soiled and characterization tests such as I-V, reflectance and quantum efficiency (QE) were carried out on both soiled, and cleaned coupons. From the results obtained, poly-Si mini-modules proved to be a good measure of soil uniformity, as any non-uniformity present would not result in a smooth curve during I-V measurements. The challenges faced while executing reflectance and QE characterization tests on poly-Si due to smaller size cells was eliminated on the mono-Si coupons with large cells to obtain highly repeatable measurements. This study indicates that the reflectance measurements between 600-700 nm wavelengths can be used as a direct measure of soil density on the modules.

Part 2 determines the most dominant failure modes of field aged PV modules using experimental data obtained in the field and statistical analysis, FMECA (Failure Mode, Effect, and Criticality Analysis). The failure and degradation modes of about 744 poly-Si glass/polymer frameless modules fielded for 18 years under the cold-dry climate of New York was evaluated. Defect chart, degradation rates (both string and module levels) and safety map were generated using the field measured data. A statistical reliability tool, FMECA that uses Risk Priority Number (RPN) is used to determine the dominant failure or degradation modes in the strings and modules by means of ranking and prioritizing the modes. This study on PV power plants considers all the failure and degradation modes from both safety and performance perspectives.

The indoor and outdoor soiling studies were jointly performed by two Masters Students, Sravanthi Boppana and Vidyashree Rajasekar. This thesis presents the indoor soiling study, whereas the other thesis presents the outdoor soiling study. Similarly, the statistical risk analyses of two power plants (model J and model JVA) were jointly performed by these two Masters students. Both power plants are located at the same cold-dry climate, but one power plant carries framed modules and the other carries frameless modules. This thesis presents the results obtained on the frameless modules.

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Date Created
2015

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26+ year old photovoltaic power plant: degradation and reliability evaluation of crystalline silicon modules - south array

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ABSTRACT As the use of photovoltaic (PV) modules in large power plants continues to increase globally, more studies on degradation, reliability, failure modes, and mechanisms of field aged modules are needed to predict module life expectancy based on accelerated lifetime

ABSTRACT As the use of photovoltaic (PV) modules in large power plants continues to increase globally, more studies on degradation, reliability, failure modes, and mechanisms of field aged modules are needed to predict module life expectancy based on accelerated lifetime testing of PV modules. In this work, a 26+ year old PV power plant in Phoenix, Arizona has been evaluated for performance, reliability, and durability. The PV power plant, called Solar One, is owned and operated by John F. Long's homeowners association. It is a 200 kWdc, standard test conditions (STC) rated power plant comprised of 4000 PV modules or frameless laminates, in 100 panel groups (rated at 175 kWac). The power plant is made of two center-tapped bipolar arrays, the north array and the south array. Due to a limited time frame to execute this large project, this work was performed by two masters students (Jonathan Belmont and Kolapo Olakonu) and the test results are presented in two masters theses. This thesis presents the results obtained on the south array and the other thesis presents the results obtained on the north array. Each of these two arrays is made of four sub arrays, the east sub arrays (positive and negative polarities) and the west sub arrays (positive and negative polarities), making up eight sub arrays. The evaluation and analyses of the power plant included in this thesis consists of: visual inspection, electrical performance measurements, and infrared thermography. A possible presence of potential induced degradation (PID) due to potential difference between ground and strings was also investigated. Some installation practices were also studied and found to contribute to the power loss observed in this investigation. The power output measured in 2011 for all eight sub arrays at STC is approximately 76 kWdc and represents a power loss of 62% (from 200 kW to 76 kW) over 26+ years. The 2011 measured power output for the four south sub arrays at STC is 39 kWdc and represents a power loss of 61% (from 100 kW to 39 kW) over 26+ years. Encapsulation browning and non-cell interconnect ribbon breakages were determined to be the primary causes for the power loss.

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Date Created
2012

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Comparison of four methods to assess silver release from nano impregnated reverse osmosis membranes

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With the application of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes in the wastewater treatment and seawater desalination, the limitation of flux and fouling problems of RO have gained more attention from researchers. Because of the tunable structure and physicochemical properties of nanomaterials,

With the application of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes in the wastewater treatment and seawater desalination, the limitation of flux and fouling problems of RO have gained more attention from researchers. Because of the tunable structure and physicochemical properties of nanomaterials, it is a suitable material that can be used to incorporate with RO to change the membrane performances. Silver is biocidal, which has been used in a variety of consumer products. Recent studies showed that fabricating silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) on membrane surfaces can mitigate the biofouling problem on the membrane. Studies have shown that Ag released from the membrane in the form of either Ag ions or AgNP will accelerate the antimicrobial activity of the membrane. However, the silver release from the membrane will lower the silver loading on the membrane, which will eventually shorten the antimicrobial activity lifetime of the membrane. Therefore, the silver leaching amount is a crucial parameter that needs to be determined for every type of Ag composite membrane.

This study is attempting to compare four different silver leaching test methods, to study the silver leaching potential of the silver impregnated membranes, conducting the advantages and disadvantages of the leaching methods. An In-situ reduction Ag loaded RO membrane was examined in this study. A custom waterjet test was established to create a high-velocity water flow to test the silver leaching from the nanocomposite membrane in a relative extreme environment. The batch leaching test was examined as the most common leaching test method for the silver composite membrane. The cross-flow filtration and dead-end test were also examined to compare the silver leaching amounts.

The silver coated membrane used in this experiment has an initial silver loading of 2.0± 0.51 ug/cm2. The mass balance was conducted for all of the leaching tests. For the batch test, water jet test, and dead-end filtration, the mass balances are all within 100±25%, which is acceptable in this experiment because of the variance of the initial silver loading on the membranes. A bad silver mass balance was observed at cross-flow filtration. Both of AgNP and Ag ions leached in the solution was examined in this experiment. The concentration of total silver leaching into solutions from the four leaching tests are all below the Secondary Drinking Water Standard for silver which is 100 ppb. The cross-flow test is the most aggressive leaching method, which has more than 80% of silver leached from the membrane after 50 hours of the test. The water jet (54 ± 6.9% of silver remaining) can cause higher silver leaching than batch test (85 ± 1.2% of silver remaining) in one-hour, and it can also cause both AgNP and Ag ions leaching from the membrane, which is closer to the leaching condition in the cross-flow test.

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Date Created
2017

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Defects and statistical degradation analysis of photovoltaic power plants

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As the photovoltaic (PV) power plants age in the field, the PV modules degrade and generate visible and invisible defects. A defect and statistical degradation rate analysis of photovoltaic (PV) power plants is presented in two-part thesis. The first part

As the photovoltaic (PV) power plants age in the field, the PV modules degrade and generate visible and invisible defects. A defect and statistical degradation rate analysis of photovoltaic (PV) power plants is presented in two-part thesis. The first part of the thesis deals with the defect analysis and the second part of the thesis deals with the statistical degradation rate analysis. In the first part, a detailed analysis on the performance or financial risk related to each defect found in multiple PV power plants across various climatic regions of the USA is presented by assigning a risk priority number (RPN). The RPN for all the defects in each PV plant is determined based on two databases: degradation rate database; defect rate database. In this analysis it is determined that the RPN for each plant is dictated by the technology type (crystalline silicon or thin-film), climate and age. The PV modules aging between 3 and 19 years in four different climates of hot-dry, hot-humid, cold-dry and temperate are investigated in this study.

In the second part, a statistical degradation analysis is performed to determine if the degradation rates are linear or not in the power plants exposed in a hot-dry climate for the crystalline silicon technologies. This linearity degradation analysis is performed using the data obtained through two methods: current-voltage method; metered kWh method. For the current-voltage method, the annual power degradation data of hundreds of individual modules in six crystalline silicon power plants of different ages is used. For the metered kWh method, a residual plot analysis using Winters’ statistical method is performed for two crystalline silicon plants of different ages. The metered kWh data typically consists of the signal and noise components. Smoothers remove the noise component from the data by taking the average of the current and the previous observations. Once this is done, a residual plot analysis of the error component is performed to determine the noise was successfully separated from the data by proving the noise is random.

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Date Created
2016

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Dependence of toxicity test results on sample removal methods of PV modules

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The volume of end-of-life photovoltaic (PV) modules is increasing as the global PV market increases, and the global PV waste streams are expected to reach 250,000 metric tons by the end of 2020. If the recycling processes are not in

The volume of end-of-life photovoltaic (PV) modules is increasing as the global PV market increases, and the global PV waste streams are expected to reach 250,000 metric tons by the end of 2020. If the recycling processes are not in place, there would be 60 million tons of end-of-life PV modules lying in the landfills by 2050, that may not become a not-so-sustainable way of sourcing energy since all PV modules could contain certain amount of toxic substances. Currently in the United States, PV modules are categorized as general waste and can be disposed in landfills. However, potential leaching of toxic chemicals and materials, if any, from broken end-of-life modules may pose health or environmental risks. There is no standard procedure to remove samples from PV modules for chemical toxicity testing in the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) laboratories as per EPA 1311 standard. The main objective of this thesis is to develop an unbiased sampling approach for the TCLP testing of PV modules. The TCLP testing was concentrated only for the laminate part of the modules, as they are already existing recycling technologies for the frame and junction box components of PV modules. Four different sample removal methods have been applied to the laminates of five different module manufacturers: coring approach, cell-cut approach, strip-cut approach, and hybrid approach. These removed samples were sent to two different TCLP laboratories, and TCLP results were tested for repeatability within a lab and reproducibility between the labs. The pros and cons of each sample removal method have been explored and the influence of sample removal methods on the variability of TCLP results has been discussed. To reduce the variability of TCLP results to an acceptable level, additional improvements in the coring approach, the best of the four tested options, are still needed.

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Date Created
2018