ISSN 0253-2778

CN 34-1054/N

Open AccessOpen Access JUSTC Physics 05 July 2022

Design and optimization of transparent scattering solar concentrator based on SiO2 aerogel

Cite this:
https://doi.org/10.52396/JUSTC-2022-0047
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  • Author Bio:

    Feng Zhang is a Ph.D. student at the University of Science and Technology of China. His research interests focus on luminescent solar concentrator

    Chen Gao received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 1990. He worked as a Professor at USTC from 1999 to 2019. He joined the faculty of the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2019. His research interests include the optical system and solar energy

  • Corresponding author: E-mail: cgao@ustc.edu.cn
  • Received Date: 22 March 2022
  • Accepted Date: 09 May 2022
  • Available Online: 05 July 2022
  • Scattering solar concentrators (SSCs), an important component of transparent/translucent photovoltaic devices, can concentrate large-area sunlight on small-area solar cells while allowing some sunlight to pass through the devices. However, owing to the lack of suitable scattering materials, there have been few reports on SSCs in recent years. In this study, we fabricated SiO2 aerogel-based SSCs and tested their performances. The photoelectric performance was found to be moderate. Additionally, the results demonstrated excellent transmittance and color rendering index, which meet the lighting requirements of the windows. A Monte Carlo ray tracing program was developed to simulate an SSC and analyze the fate of all photons. We also analyzed the multiple scattering mechanism in SSCs that damages the photoelectric efficiency of a device via theoretical simulation. Finally, we proposed an anisotropic scattering device that can increase the primary scattering and suppress multiple scattering, resulting in excellent photoelectric efficiency.
    Structure of SSC based on SiO2 aerogel.
    Scattering solar concentrators (SSCs), an important component of transparent/translucent photovoltaic devices, can concentrate large-area sunlight on small-area solar cells while allowing some sunlight to pass through the devices. However, owing to the lack of suitable scattering materials, there have been few reports on SSCs in recent years. In this study, we fabricated SiO2 aerogel-based SSCs and tested their performances. The photoelectric performance was found to be moderate. Additionally, the results demonstrated excellent transmittance and color rendering index, which meet the lighting requirements of the windows. A Monte Carlo ray tracing program was developed to simulate an SSC and analyze the fate of all photons. We also analyzed the multiple scattering mechanism in SSCs that damages the photoelectric efficiency of a device via theoretical simulation. Finally, we proposed an anisotropic scattering device that can increase the primary scattering and suppress multiple scattering, resulting in excellent photoelectric efficiency.
    • Scattering solar concentrators based on SiO2 aerogel were fabricated, which have excellent optical performance and moderate photoelectric performance.
    • A Monte Carlo ray tracing program was developed and the multiple scattering mechanism that damages the efficiency was analyzed.
    • An anisotropic scattering device was proposed to suppress the damage of the multiple scattering.

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  • [1]
    Papakonstantinou I, Portnoi M, Debije M G. The hidden potential of luminescent solar concentrators. Advanced Energy Materials, 2021, 11 (3): 2002883. doi: 10.1002/aenm.202002883
    [2]
    Bauhuis G J, Mulder P, Haverkamp E J, et al. 26.1% thin-film GaAs solar cell using epitaxial lift-off. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2009, 93 (9): 1488–1491. doi: 10.1016/j.solmat.2009.03.027
    [3]
    Chae Y T, Kim J, Park H, et al. Building energy performance evaluation of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) window with semi-transparent solar cells. Applied Energy, 2014, 129: 217–227. doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.04.106
    [4]
    Zhang J, Wang M, Zhang Y, et al. Optimization of large-size glass laminated luminescent solar concentrators. Solar Energy, 2015, 117: 260–267. doi: 10.1016/j.solener.2015.05.004
    [5]
    Whalley L D, Frost J M, Jung Y K, et al. Perspective: Theory and simulation of hybrid halide perovskites. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 2017, 146 (22): 220901. doi: 10.1063/1.4984964
    [6]
    Miyazaki T, Akisawa A, Kashiwagi T. The effects of solar chimneys on thermal load mitigation of office buildings under the Japanese climate. Renewable Energy, 2006, 31 (7): 987–1010. doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2005.05.003
    [7]
    Debije M G, Verbunt P P C. Thirty years of luminescent solar concentrator research: Solar energy for the built environment. Advanced Energy Materials, 2012, 2 (1): 12–35. doi: 10.1002/aenm.201100554
    [8]
    Currie M J, Mapel J K, Heidel T D, et al. High-efficiency organic solar concentrators for photovoltaics. Science, 2008, 321 (5886): 226–228. doi: 10.1126/science.1158342
    [9]
    Debije M G. Solar energy collectors with tunable transmission. Advanced Functional Materials, 2010, 20 (9): 1498–1502. doi: 10.1002/adfm.200902403
    [10]
    Zhang Y, Sun S, Kang R, et al. Polymethylmethacrylate-based luminescent solar concentrators with bottom-mounted solar cells. Energy Conversion and Management, 2015, 95: 187–192. doi: 10.1016/j.enconman.2015.02.043
    [11]
    Meinardi F, McDaniel H, Carulli F, et al. Highly efficient large-area colourless luminescent solar concentrators using heavy-metal-free colloidal quantum dots. Nature Nanotechnology, 2015, 10 (10): 878–885. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2015.178
    [12]
    Meinardi F, Colombo A, Velizhanin K A, et al. Large-area luminescent solar concentrators based on ‘Stokes-shift-engineered’ nanocrystals in a mass-polymerized PMMA matrix. Nature Photonics, 2014, 8 (5): 392–399. doi: 10.1038/nphoton.2014.54
    [13]
    Wilton S R, Fetterman M R, Low J J, et al. Monte Carlo study of PbSe quantum dots as the fluorescent material in luminescent solar concentrators. Optics Express, 2014, 22: A35–A43. doi: 10.1364/OE.22.000A35
    [14]
    Chau J L H, Chen R T, Hwang G L, et al. Transparent solar cell window module. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2010, 94 (3): 588–591. doi: 10.1016/j.solmat.2009.12.003
    [15]
    Chen R T, Chau J L H, Hwang G L. Design and fabrication of diffusive solar cell window. Renewable Energy, 2012, 40 (1): 24–28. doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2011.08.018
    [16]
    Chen R T, Kang C C, Lin J F, et al. Optimal design for the diffusion plate with nanoparticles in a diffusive solar cell window by Mie scattering simulation. International Journal of Photoenergy, 2013: 481637. doi: 10.1155/2013/481637
    [17]
    Kistler S S. Coherent expanded aerogels and jellies. Nature, 1931, 127 (3211): 741–741. doi: 10.1038/127741a0
    [18]
    Tummeltshammer C, Taylor A, Kenyon A J, et al. Losses in luminescent solar concentrators unveiled. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2016, 144: 40–47. doi: 10.1016/j.solmat.2015.08.008
    [19]
    Tummeltshammer C, Taylor A, Kenyon A J, et al. Homeotropic alignment and Förster resonance energy transfer: The way to a brighter luminescent solar concentrator. Journal of Applied Physics, 2014, 116 (17): 173103. doi: 10.1063/1.4900986
    [20]
    Zhang F, Zhang N N, Zhang Y, et al. Theoretical simulation and analysis of large size BMP-LSC by 3D Monte Carlo ray tracing model. Chinese Physics B, 2017, 26 (5): 054201. doi: 10.1088/1674-1056/26/5/054201
    [21]
    Novak B M. Hybrid nanocomposite materials—between inorganic glasses and organic polymers. Advanced Materials, 1993, 5 (6): 422–433. doi: 10.1002/adma.19930050603
    [22]
    Vossen F M, Aarts M P J, Debije M G. Visual performance of red luminescent solar concentrating windows in an office environment. Energy and Buildings, 2016, 113: 123–132. doi: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2015.12.022
    [23]
    Tummeltshammer C, Brown M S, Taylor A, et al. Efficiency and loss mechanisms of plasmonic luminescent solar concentrators. Optics Express, 2013, 21: A735–A749. doi: 10.1364/OE.21.00A735
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    Figure  1.  TEM photograph of SiO2 aerogel.

    Figure  2.  (a) Structure of SSC; (b) photograph of 20.2% aerogel SSC.

    Figure  3.  Measured and calculated efficiencies and transmittances as functions of SiO2 aerogel concentration.

    Figure  4.  Transmitted light intensity spectrum (red line) of a 20.2% aerogel SSC measured under sunshine, sunlight spectrum (blue line), and the measured (black line) and calculated (dash-dotted line) transmittance spectra.

    Figure  5.  Color rendering index (Ra) and monochromatic color rendering index (R1–R15) of the SSC (20.2%).

    Figure  6.  Monte Carlo ray-tracing program flowchart.

    Figure  7.  (a) Angular distribution of s-polarized light scattering; (b) angular distribution of p-polarized light scattering; (c) total angular distribution of natural light scattering.

    Figure  8.  AM1.5 and simulated transmission spectra of SSC (20.2%).

    Figure  9.  Fate statistics of the 500000 simulated photons.

    Figure  10.  Simulated collection probability of a 100 mm × 100 mm SSC surface (20.2%).

    Figure  11.  Schematic of the anisotropic scattering of parallel arranged nanosheets.

    Figure  12.  Scattering intensity of incident photons. Nanosheet size: 200 nm in diameter, 20 nm in height. Waveguide matrix refractive: 1.5, nanosheet refractive: 2.55.

    Figure  13.  Typical angular distributions of scattering probability for photons incident (a) perpendicular, (b) parallel, and (c) 30° to the nanosheets and (d) perpendicular to the nanosphere (radius = 50 nm).

    Figure  14.  Fate statistics of the 500000 photons under nanosheet SSC.

    [1]
    Papakonstantinou I, Portnoi M, Debije M G. The hidden potential of luminescent solar concentrators. Advanced Energy Materials, 2021, 11 (3): 2002883. doi: 10.1002/aenm.202002883
    [2]
    Bauhuis G J, Mulder P, Haverkamp E J, et al. 26.1% thin-film GaAs solar cell using epitaxial lift-off. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2009, 93 (9): 1488–1491. doi: 10.1016/j.solmat.2009.03.027
    [3]
    Chae Y T, Kim J, Park H, et al. Building energy performance evaluation of building integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) window with semi-transparent solar cells. Applied Energy, 2014, 129: 217–227. doi: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.04.106
    [4]
    Zhang J, Wang M, Zhang Y, et al. Optimization of large-size glass laminated luminescent solar concentrators. Solar Energy, 2015, 117: 260–267. doi: 10.1016/j.solener.2015.05.004
    [5]
    Whalley L D, Frost J M, Jung Y K, et al. Perspective: Theory and simulation of hybrid halide perovskites. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 2017, 146 (22): 220901. doi: 10.1063/1.4984964
    [6]
    Miyazaki T, Akisawa A, Kashiwagi T. The effects of solar chimneys on thermal load mitigation of office buildings under the Japanese climate. Renewable Energy, 2006, 31 (7): 987–1010. doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2005.05.003
    [7]
    Debije M G, Verbunt P P C. Thirty years of luminescent solar concentrator research: Solar energy for the built environment. Advanced Energy Materials, 2012, 2 (1): 12–35. doi: 10.1002/aenm.201100554
    [8]
    Currie M J, Mapel J K, Heidel T D, et al. High-efficiency organic solar concentrators for photovoltaics. Science, 2008, 321 (5886): 226–228. doi: 10.1126/science.1158342
    [9]
    Debije M G. Solar energy collectors with tunable transmission. Advanced Functional Materials, 2010, 20 (9): 1498–1502. doi: 10.1002/adfm.200902403
    [10]
    Zhang Y, Sun S, Kang R, et al. Polymethylmethacrylate-based luminescent solar concentrators with bottom-mounted solar cells. Energy Conversion and Management, 2015, 95: 187–192. doi: 10.1016/j.enconman.2015.02.043
    [11]
    Meinardi F, McDaniel H, Carulli F, et al. Highly efficient large-area colourless luminescent solar concentrators using heavy-metal-free colloidal quantum dots. Nature Nanotechnology, 2015, 10 (10): 878–885. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2015.178
    [12]
    Meinardi F, Colombo A, Velizhanin K A, et al. Large-area luminescent solar concentrators based on ‘Stokes-shift-engineered’ nanocrystals in a mass-polymerized PMMA matrix. Nature Photonics, 2014, 8 (5): 392–399. doi: 10.1038/nphoton.2014.54
    [13]
    Wilton S R, Fetterman M R, Low J J, et al. Monte Carlo study of PbSe quantum dots as the fluorescent material in luminescent solar concentrators. Optics Express, 2014, 22: A35–A43. doi: 10.1364/OE.22.000A35
    [14]
    Chau J L H, Chen R T, Hwang G L, et al. Transparent solar cell window module. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2010, 94 (3): 588–591. doi: 10.1016/j.solmat.2009.12.003
    [15]
    Chen R T, Chau J L H, Hwang G L. Design and fabrication of diffusive solar cell window. Renewable Energy, 2012, 40 (1): 24–28. doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2011.08.018
    [16]
    Chen R T, Kang C C, Lin J F, et al. Optimal design for the diffusion plate with nanoparticles in a diffusive solar cell window by Mie scattering simulation. International Journal of Photoenergy, 2013: 481637. doi: 10.1155/2013/481637
    [17]
    Kistler S S. Coherent expanded aerogels and jellies. Nature, 1931, 127 (3211): 741–741. doi: 10.1038/127741a0
    [18]
    Tummeltshammer C, Taylor A, Kenyon A J, et al. Losses in luminescent solar concentrators unveiled. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2016, 144: 40–47. doi: 10.1016/j.solmat.2015.08.008
    [19]
    Tummeltshammer C, Taylor A, Kenyon A J, et al. Homeotropic alignment and Förster resonance energy transfer: The way to a brighter luminescent solar concentrator. Journal of Applied Physics, 2014, 116 (17): 173103. doi: 10.1063/1.4900986
    [20]
    Zhang F, Zhang N N, Zhang Y, et al. Theoretical simulation and analysis of large size BMP-LSC by 3D Monte Carlo ray tracing model. Chinese Physics B, 2017, 26 (5): 054201. doi: 10.1088/1674-1056/26/5/054201
    [21]
    Novak B M. Hybrid nanocomposite materials—between inorganic glasses and organic polymers. Advanced Materials, 1993, 5 (6): 422–433. doi: 10.1002/adma.19930050603
    [22]
    Vossen F M, Aarts M P J, Debije M G. Visual performance of red luminescent solar concentrating windows in an office environment. Energy and Buildings, 2016, 113: 123–132. doi: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2015.12.022
    [23]
    Tummeltshammer C, Brown M S, Taylor A, et al. Efficiency and loss mechanisms of plasmonic luminescent solar concentrators. Optics Express, 2013, 21: A735–A749. doi: 10.1364/OE.21.00A735

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