A Novel Low-Cost, High-Efficiency Solar Powered Micro-Combined Heat and Power System for Electricity, Hot Water, and Space Heating
January 07, 2021
Energy Research and Development (500)
Natural Gas Program
Roland Winston, Gerardo Diaz, Ron Durbin, Lun Jiang, Bennett Widyolar, Jordyn Brinkley, Sai Kiran Hota
The researchers developed and successfully demonstrated a proof of concept solar combined heat and power (CHP) collector. The novel low-cost, high efficiency solar CHP collector generates electricity and heat for space and water heating up to 60°Celsius (140°Fahrenheit). It uses non-imaging optics for solar concentration, aluminum mini-channels for thermal collection, and commercially available solar cells packaged in an inexpensive glass tube for electricity production. Prototypes were manufactured and tested outdoors over several months. Technical performance under standard operating conditions was verified, and the collector passed all extreme condition testing (stagnation, accelerated cycling, sub-zero temperatures, and hail testing) without degradation. The system has the potential to save 30 percent more roof space and $0.29 per Watt compared to a system combining conventional solar water heater with solar PV and reduces carbon emissions by $24/metric ton of CO2. This research effort supports the industry in meeting California’s greenhouse gas reduction targets, reducing energy consumption, promoting greater natural gas reliability, and lowering energy costs.