13/04/2023 – R. Vaillon – Thermophotovoltaic conversion of heat stored at ultra-high temperature

Séminaire IUSTI – 13 avril 2023 – 11h salle 317

Thermophotovoltaic conversion of heat stored at ultra-high temperature

Rodolphe Vaillon – IES, Montpellier

Based on the photovoltaic effect to produce electricity, thermophotovoltaics (TPV) differs from solar photovoltaics (PV) in the spectrum of light that is converted and the flux density involved. While the latter technology is well established, the development of the former faces specific challenges, but has recently benefited from strong advances and new opportunities. This new momentum is linked to the development of solar-to-heat-to-power (usually called Solar TPV) converters and more recently of power-to-heat-to-power converters. In both cases, a key point is that energy can be efficiently stored under the form of heat, thus allowing to alleviate the intermittency of solar and wind power generation. The storage of latent or sensible heat at ultra-high temperature (1000 to 2400 °C), at high density and low cost, is the backbone of the advent of the so-called TPV “batteries”.

After a presentation of the basic principles of thermophotovoltaics and of the differences of TPV conversion with respect to solar PV conversion, the most promising applications envisioned as part of the transition to carbon-free renewable electricity generation will be introduced. It will be explained how the concomitant development of low-cost thermal energy storage and highly-efficient (> 40%) thermophotovoltaic cells is currently accelerating research on TPV batteries. Then, an analysis of the state-of-the-art of TPV devices developed and characterized in a laboratory-setting will be proposed. The presentation will conclude with a short introduction to advanced concepts, research pathways and associated challenges, and networking initiatives to continue to advance the field.

More informations on the Team Project(*) TREE (Thermal Radiation to Electrical Energy conversion) coordinated by Rodolphe Vaillon : https://tree.ies.umontpellier.fr and at international : iTPV network: https://itpv.ies.umontpellier.fr.

(*) a Team Project is a multi-laboratories structure supported by Institut des Sciences de l’Ingénierie et des Systèmes (INSIS) of CNRS.