Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Montero F., Lamba R., Ortega A., Jahn W., Guzmán A. (2021)

A novel 24-hour day-night operational solar thermoelectric generator using phase change materials

Revista : Journal of Cleaner Production
Volumen : 296
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


In this study, the economic feasibility of photovoltaic-thermoelectric hybrid system has been carried out for Atacama Desert, Chile. Photovoltaic systems (PV) are the most important solar projects in the Chilean renewable energy market. In Chile, the better solar resource is found in the same zone of the mining industry which is the most important economic activity of the country. Further, the coupling of a thermoelectric generator (TEG) for thermal management of PV system reduces the operating temperature of PV system and thus, increases the overall conversion efficiency and the life span of the PV system. However, the economical feasibility of the hybrid PV-TEG systems (HPV-TEG) under real environment and market conditions have not been analized yet. Therefore, the economic model of HPV-TEG system has been developed in MATLAB and the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) analysis has been carried out toeconomically quantify the advantages of a HPV-TEG system over a PV system, operating at the same environmental conditions. Five different possible scenarios based on the TEG and PV nominal efficiencies, the energy losses and the system costs have been considered for economic analysis. These parameters are varied to identify the relevance of each parameter in the economic feasibility of a HPV-TEG system. The results showed that for the current efficiency and costs of the TEG system, the HPV-TEG system cannot be economically competitive with the PV systemfor the environment conditions of the Atacama Desert. However, the calculated average LCOE of the HPV-TEG system, 0.071 USD/kWh, is close to the current average LCOEs for PV and solar thermal (ST) systems in the Chilean energy market. Therefore it opens the possibility that the HPV-TEG system would be competitive soon not only in the Chilean territory but in other desert locations around the world. The model presented in this study provides a fundamental understanding of the economic analysis of a PV-TEG hybrid system under different environmental conditions.