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A hybrid solar cell that utilizes waste heat to boost efficiency

By Chemical Engineering |

Scientists from Yonsei University (Seoul, South Korea; www.yonsei.ac.kr) led by Prof Eunkyoung Kim, have developed a hybrid solar cell to enhance the photo-conversion efficiency of a solar cell with a thermoelectric device operated by photothermally generated heat. The efficiency was increased by more than 20% under sunlight irradiation using the transmitted light through the photovoltaic cell as a heat source. The scientists achieved thermoelectric and pyroelectric conversion by pairing a dye-sensitized photovoltaic film with transparent conducting polymers poly(3,4-ethylenedioixythiophene)s (PEDOTs). The polymers are a suitable multi-energy harvester because their doping states are easily controlled to optimize transparency and photothermal conversion. Because the dye in a dye-sensitive solar cell typically absorbs only part of the ultraviolet (UV) and visible range of incident sunlight, the transmitted and wasted sunlight can be reused for photothermal (PT) and pyroelectric (PE) harvesting and, eventually, for photothermal conversion. Compared with a bare thermoelectric (TE) system, the photothermal-pyro-thermoelectric device developed by the scientists showed more than six times higher thermoelectric output with the additional…
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