ABSTRACT

This chapter examines the role of novel thermophotovoltaic (TPV) technology for power production. While the TPV technology is similar to the PV technology in some respect, it is also more versatile. This chapter outlines major difference between TPV and PV technologies. This chapter describes the workings of TPV technology and illustrates different types of TPV technology based on sources of heat such as solar thermophotovoltaic, combustion and waste heat-based thermophotovoltaics, micro-gap thermophotovoltaics, radioisotope thermophotovoltaics, and other alternatives. Emitter is an important component of TPV system. This chapter examines emitter design, advanced emitter materials, and requirements for effective emitters such as their optical performance, spectral control of selective emitters, scalability to large areas, long-term high-temperature stability, ease of integration with TPV system, TPV sub-system efficiency and cost. Often the TPV system uses filter to improve its performance. This chapter analyzes various aspects of the filter design. This chapter also analyzes material characteristics of TPV cell. Most common materials currently used are GaSb-based, InGaAs-based, and narrow bandgap materials. Their performances are examined in detail. Finally, applications of TPV for solar TPV systems, waste heat, combustion heat, space usage, and thermal energy storage are briefly examined. This chapter ends with the presentation of challenges, recommendations and closing perspectives on TPV technology. Significant more work is needed to make TPV technology commercial ready.