A Master of Science thesis in Mechanical Engineering by Omar Z. Sharaf entitled, "Conceptual Design and Analysis of Concentrated Photovoltaic Thermal (CPVT) Solar Collectors with Different Configurations," submitted in May 2015. Thesis advisor is Dr. Mehmet Fatih Orhan. Soft and hard copy available.
In light of the globally dwindling fossil fuel reserves, escalating fuel prices, and growing environmental concerns; the need for energy-efficient and environmentally-benign sustainable energy solutions becomes direr than ever. Solar energy is an inexhaustible, inherently-clean, and free source of energy; making it fully sustainable for current and future use. Nevertheless, inherent limitations with the solar resource and technical challenges in current solar collection methods hinder the efficient harvesting and utilization of solar energy. Concentrated photovoltaic thermal (CPVT) solar collectors have been gaining ever-increasing attention from the scientific community and industrial developers due to their promising potential to pave the way for the penetration of solar energy in the energy market. CPVTs' flexibility, compactness, semi-static operation, high first and second law efficiencies, multi-output nature, cost effectiveness, and wide spectrum of applications inspired many innovative designs and design improvements available in the literature; making CPVTs one of the most promising renewable-based distributed generation technologies. The interrelation between design considerations, constituent components, and wide variety of designs and modifications show that there is significant room for improvement and innovation in CPVT studies. In this study, two novel densely-packed CPVT conceptual designs are optically, electrically, thermally, environmentally, and exergoeconomically analyzed. The designs are composed of parabolic dish concentrators, multi-junction PV cells, segmented thermoelectric generators, and finned minichannel heat extractors. Detailed novel models and design algorithms are developed for all components. In configuration I, these components are connected thermally in-series. In configuration II, components are connected thermally in-parallel. Highly-versatile computational simulation programs are written for each system to gain an in-depth understanding of all optical, electrical, and thermal interactions. Multi-variable optimization and performance comparisons between the two designs are conducted under UAE weather conditions. Simulation results show promising simultaneous solar-to-electrical and solar-to-thermal outputs with attractive environmental and economic advantages.