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5 International Conference on Energy Sustainability

Grand Hyatt Washington, Washington DC, August7-10, 2011



José G. Pérez

Sandra Jiménez, Salvador A. Iniesta, José L. Sosa-Sánchez, Javier Martínez

Centro de Investigaciones en Dispositivos Semiconductores – Instituto de Ciencias

Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Av. 14 sur y Av. San Claudio
Ciudad Universitaria, Col. San Manuel, Puebla, Pue., México, C.P. 72570.
Tel. /Fax: 52 (222) 2330284.

Abstract Design and construction of the photovoltaic-thermoelectric

Electrical energy can be generated by using solar energy
concentration. Normally, this type of systems requires a special The basic idea for the design of a photovoltaic-thermoelectric
device to achieve optimal heat dissipation. A no cover power Bi- cell is to take advantage of a cogeneration system transistor-
Junction Transistor (BJT) has this advantage. An electrical power thermoelectric module when the concentrated solar
power generator may be obtained if concentrated solar radiation radiation is applied directly to the power transistor chip and the
is applied directly to the surface of a power transistor such as the waste heat is also converted into electricity by the power
MJ15023. The waste heat of the BJT is removed by a power thermoelectric module (see figure 1). This module consists of
thermoelectric module, and then a co-generation system may be several thermoelectric couples made of p-type and n-type
obtained. This paper shows how this system is implemented and semiconductor material. These thermocouples are connected
the results are evaluated to show the advantages of this type of electrically in series and thermally in parallel. If one of the
generator. junctions is heated (or cooled) with respect to the other, then it
will cause a current due to the existing temperature gradient.
Keywords: Solar concentration, photovoltaic cell, To prepare the power transistor for energy conversion the metal
thermoelectric power module, power generation, cover is pulled up to expose the device chip to concentrated solar
cogeneration. radiation. The power thermoelectric module used is a TEP1-
1264-1.5 type with match load output power of 5.9W whose
Introduction dimensions are 40 mm x 40 mm. Both devices are placed as
shown in figure 2.
One way to attain more power generation per area on Figure 3 shows the dissipation elements used by the assembled
photovoltaic solar systems is to use solar energy concentration. cell. They are a cylindrical aluminium coupling and an eight fins
This requires special technology for the photovoltaic device. dissipation system. A Duran glass bell is placed to attain vacuum
Another way to increase power generation in these systems is by for the system to prevent oxidation at the surface of transistor
cogeneration. Some power transistors present the photovoltaic when it is exposed to solar concentration. Two temperature
effect when the device is directly exposed to light or solar sensors were added to the base of the cell to measure
radiation and this has been shown in the case of the MJ15023 temperature in the case of the transistor and the temperature at
power transistor [1], which is a three-terminal electronic device, the aluminium sink.
constructed with doped semiconductor materials and may be
generally used in amplifying or switching applications. It is Solar concentration system
possible to take advantage of this device because the ability it
has for the high power dissipation (250 W at 25°C). This system uses an Apollo #27570 Fresnel lens whose focusing
Cogeneration can be implemented in this system by coupling it distance is 32 cm from the surface [2, 3]. The Fresnel lens is an 8
with a thermoelectric power module to convert waste heat into 1/2" x 11" area. The lens is placed at the top of a mechanical
electricity. structure which is held by two parallel axes tied to the general

structure. Movement around the main axis is obtained by a direct
current 12 V wiper motor (see figure 4).

Figure 4. Solar concentration system

Experimental tests

In order to evaluate the Photovoltaic-Thermoelectric Generator

Figure 1. Elements of the photovoltaic-thermoelectric cell (PTG), it was necessary to design a measurement system; the
block diagram is shown in figure 5.

Figure 2. (a) Thermoelectric power module placed on the

aluminium base, (b) Assembled cell including the power transistor.
Figure 5. Data acquisition system block diagram

Figure 6 shows the PTG in operation. The data acquisition system

captured all variables and controls the sun tracking mechanical system.

Figure 3. (a) Elements used for cooling the aluminium base (sink),
(b) Finished photovoltaic-thermoelectric cell.

Figure 6. PTG in operation including data acquisition system.

Global solar radiation was measured by using a Kipp & Zonen Thermoelectric Power
Photovoltaic Power
SP Lite pyranometer [4], while voltage generation was measured
with a SCB 68 National Instruments data acquisition card.
Sample data acquisition and processing information was carried

Power Generation (W)

out by using the LabView program. Data from photoelectric and 0.15

thermoelectric voltages were sampled on 1 Ω and 1.2 Ω resistors

load (RL) respectively. Sampling was every 5 minutes and 0.10
irradiance was monitored all the experiment. Results are shown
in figures 7, 8 and 9. Time observed in plots is applied to
daylight saving time in Mexico. Temperature measurements for
the cell were made by using two LM35 integrated circuit with a
scale factor of 10 mV/°C and range covering -55 to 150 °C. 0.00

Figure 10 shows temperature applied to both sides of the

13:00 13:10 13:20 13:30 13:40 13:50 14:00 14:10 14:20
thermoelectric cell while figure 11 shows the temperature
Time (hrs)
gradient. Figure 12 shows the total power generated by both
Figure 9. Plot of the power generated by the photovoltaic and
thermoelectric cell.

65 T sink
Irradiance (W/m )


600 55

Temperature (°C)

400 45


200 35

13:00 13:10 13:20 13:30 13:40 13:50 14:00 14:10 14:20
Time (hrs) 25


Figure 7. Irradiance measured by the pyranometer. Low intensity 13:00 13:10 13:20 13:30 13:40 13:50 14:00 14:10 14:20
originates during cloudy conditions. Time (hrs)

Figure 10. Plot of the temperatures obtained between both sides of

the thermoelectric cell.
RL=1.2 ohms
Generated Voltage (volts)

Temperature gradient (°C)

0.2 RL=1 ohm

0.1 10

13:00 13:10 13:20 13:30 13:40 13:50 14:00 14:10 14:20
Time (hrs)

Figure 8. Plot corresponding to the voltages generated by the 13:00 13:10 13:20 13:30 13:40 13:50 14:00 14:10 14:20
photovoltaic cell and the t hermoelectric cell. Time (hrs)

Figure 11. Plot corresponding to temperature gradient for the

thermoelectric cell

4.- Muhlía A. V., 2004, “Notas del curso de solarimetría”, Memorias
de la XXVIII Semana Nacional de Energía Solar, Oaxaca, México.


Total Power (W)





13:00 13:10 13:20 13:30 13:40 13:50 14:00 14:10 14:20

Time (hrs)

Figure 12. Plot of the total power generated by the PTG.

Conclusion 1:
From the data obtained in the tests it is observed that the PTG is
generating a maximum power of 0.24 W and decays according to
the graph of irradiance with a certain delay. Notice that the
thermoelectric voltage is greater than the photovoltaic voltage;
this is probably because the transistor is not cooling properly.

Conclusion 2:
A photoelectric-thermoelectrical generator was designed and
fabricated with a power transistor and thermoelectric power
module. An equatorial mechanical system and a sun tracker were
developed for the experiment of the device. Solar energy
concentration was obtained by using a Fresnel lens.
Tests were made to the cell by using a data acquisition system.
Irradiance and power generation were obtained for a particular
case. Generation was obtained for a 1.2 and 1 Ω resistor load for
the thermoelectric and photovoltaic cells respectively.

Conclusion 3:
It was shown that power generation obtained in the cogeneration
condition was higher than the power obtained for every element
by itself.

Conclusion 4:
Efficiency attained in this system is 0.36 %, this is because the
power transistor is not a special device developed for solar
concentrated radiation.

1.- Serrano L. E., 2003, Estudio del efecto fotovoltaico en las uniones
de un transistor de potencia sometido a concentración, Tesis de
Licenciatura, pp. 41-44, 45-47, Puebla, Pue. México.

2.- Yllescas L., 2009, Evaluación del desempeño de un Generador

Termoeléctrico empleando concentración Solar, Tesis de licenciatura,
pp. 39-54. Puebla, Pue. México.

3.- Creus S. A, 1982, Instrumentación industrial, 4ª edición, pp. 245-

268. México. Ed. Alfaomega-marcombo.