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 example illustrates applications of this type that would nominally be built using the following products:

Heat Transfer Module