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Review Article

Technological Advances to Maximize Solar Collector Energy Output: A Review

[+] Author and Article Information
Swapnil S. Salvi

School of Mechanical, Materials and Energy Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar, Rupnagar - 140001, Punjab, India
swapnil.salvi@iitrpr.ac.in

Vishal Bhalla

School of Mechanical, Materials and Energy Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar, Rupnagar - 140001, Punjab, India
vishal.bhalla@iitrpr.ac.in

Robert Taylor

School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia; School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia
robert.taylor@unsw.edu.au

Vikrant Khullar

Mechanical Engineering Department, Thapar University, Patiala 147004, Punjab, India
vikrant.khullar@thapar.edu

Todd Otanicar

Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 74104
todd-otanicar@utulsa.edu

Patrick E. Phelan

School for Engineering of Matter, Transport & Energy, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
phelan@asu.edu

Himanshu Tyagi

School of Mechanical, Materials and Energy Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Ropar, Rupnagar - 140001, Punjab, India
himanshu.tyagi@iitrpr.ac.in

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4041219 History: Received May 04, 2018; Revised August 19, 2018

Abstract

Since it is highly correlated with quality of life, the demand for energy continues to increase as the global population grows and modernizes. Although there has been significant impetus to move away from a reliance on fossil fuels for decades (e.g. localized pollution and climate change), solar energy has only recently taken on a non-negligible role in the global production of energy. The photovoltaics industry has many of the same electronics packaging challenges as the semiconductor industry, because in both cases high temperatures lead to lowering of the system performance. Also, there are several technologies which can harvest solar energy solely as heat. Advances in these technologies (e.g. solar selective coatings, design optimizations, and improvement in materials) have also kept the solar thermal market growing in recent years (albeit not nearly as rapidly as PV). This paper presents a review on how heat is managed in solar thermal and photovoltaic systems, with a focus on the recent developments for technologies which can harvest heat to meet global energy demands. It also briefs about possible ways to resolve the challenges or difficulties existing in solar collectors like solar selectivity, thermal stability, etc. As a key enabling technology for reducing radiation heat losses in these devices, the focus of this paper is to discuss the ongoing advances in solar selective coatings and working fluids, which could potentially be used in tandem to filter out or recover the heat that is wasted from photovoltaics. Among the reviewed solar selective coatings, recent advances in selective coating categories like DMD (dielectric-metal-dielectric), multilayered and cermet-based coatings are considered. In addition, the effects of characteristic changes in glazing, absorber geometry and solar tracking systems on the performance of solar collectors are also reviewed. A discussion of how these fundamental technological advances could be incorporated with photovoltaics is included as well.

Copyright (c) 2018 by ASME
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