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Thermo-Photo-Voltaic Cell

Application ID: 494

This model illustrates an application that maximizes surface-to-surface radiative fluxes and minimizes conductive heat fluxes.

A thermo-photo-voltaic (TPV) cell generates electricity from the combustion of fuel and through radiation. The fuel burns inside an emitting device that radiates intensely. Photo-voltaic (PV) cells—almost like solar cells—capture the radiation and convert it to electricity. The efficiency of a TPV device ranges from 1% to 20%. In some cases, TPVs are used in heat generators to co-generate electricity, and the efficiency is not so critical. In other cases TPVs are used as electric power sources, for example in automobiles. In those cases efficiency is a major concern.

This model uses the Heat Transfer with Surface-to-Surface Radiation interface to investigate the influence of operating conditions (flame temperature) on system efficiency and the temperature of components in a typical TPV system. The model can also assess the influence of geometry changes.

This model is included as an example in the following products:

Heat Transfer Module

The combination of COMSOL® products required to model your application depends on several factors and may include boundary conditions, material properties, physics interfaces, and part libraries. Particular functionality may be common to several products. To determine the right combination of products for your modeling needs, review the Specification Chart and make use of a free evaluation license. The COMSOL Sales and Support teams are available for answering any questions you may have regarding this.