Integrated Spectral Leverage Amplification (iSLA) System for Thermal Solar Energy Harvesting

Project Summary

The development of high-efficiency integrated solar energy systems that take advantage of the natural solar resource in California is critical to achieving a renewable energy future for Los Angeles. This project aims to develop a high performance energy device based on an integrated spectral leverage amplification (iSLA) system. This novel design integrates a hybrid solar and thermal energy convertor and a thermal energy storage circuit to maximize the usage over the solar spectra. The system is built on heterogeneous nanomaterials to significantly improve energy conversion efficiency. Based on the innovation and preliminary modeling, the system has the ability to achieve a record-breaking energy efficiency in Los Angeles. Further, researchers will conduct both an experimental approach and theoretical modeling to further optimize the designs and materials. This innovation is complementary to on-going solar thermal energy studies at UCLA. The project's main outcome is a transformative and distributable new energy technology that can be widely deployed to help Los Angeles achieve its sustainability goals.

Research Team

Yongjie Hu
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Samueli School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

Adrienne Lavine
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Samueli School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

JR DeShazo
Public Policy, Luskin School of Public Affairs

Bruce Dunn
Materials Science & Engineering, Samueli School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

Progress and Results

The development of high-efficiency integrated solar energy systems that take advantage of the natural solar resource in California is critical to achieving a renewable energy future for Los Angeles. Researchers developed innovative iSLA technology that uses highly efficient spectral splitting in a multi-layer integrated configuration, enabling both higher efficiency and the integration for dispatchable way of energy conversion and storage, aiming to distribute it without the grid infrastructure for 100% renewable energy.

The project team has successfully developed high-performance thermal energy harvesting building blocks based on two-dimensional, tin selenide thin-film. In addition, through a system level design using multiscale simulations, researchers have demonstrated the ability to capture the entire solar spectrum. The results achieved a promising 72.5% recovery of the total incident solar energy, and a 21.4% electrical energy conversion efficiency based on low-cost commercial photovoltaics.

 

Other Information of Interest

Project image of solar panel troughs

Category

Award Year

2017