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SOLAR ENERGY

We envisage a world where solar energy can be used to power entire buildings, industrial processes and take water vapour out of the atmosphere to grow crops where there would otherwise be arid land.  Our Solar Transmuter brings us a step closer to this vision.

Photon Engineers seeks to make full use of the solar spectrum. Our work focuses on the use of ultra-violet, visible and infra-red frequencies, unlike standard PV generation, which collects energy predominantly from the visible section of the light spectrum.  The extra energy we generate, which is in the form of high-grade heat, can be used for cooling and heat storage without compromising levels of electricity generation.

 

PHOTOVOLTAIC-THERMAL TECHNOLOGY (PVT)

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TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT

We are working to enhance the performance of Cadmium Telluride solar panels so that they can be used with concentrating optics to co-generate electricity (without loss of efficiency and with no moving parts) and high-temperature heat.  We believe that ours will be the first PVT panel to generate consistent water temperatures between 70 and 140 degrees C.  The technology combines thin film solar expertise at Swansea University’s Centre for Solar Energy Research with Barry Clive’s latest thermal concentration technology, which was designed recently for a DFID project to develop low-cost solar powered irrigation pumps for the developing world.

The temperature generated by our thermal concentration process is high enough to drive a number of industrial processes and absorption chillers, such as those manufactured by Yazaki.  In the future, it could also be used to drive a thermal storage technology, such as the one currently under development at the SPECIFIC group in Swansea.

In the near future, we aim to have: a demonstration of the system on a small scale, a demonstration of the thermal generation on a large scale and two working use-case examples with Yazaki’s absorption chiller and SPECIFIC’s thermal storage technology.

 
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A BUSINESS CASE

Air conditioning systems use vast amounts of electricity and they are often used when the sun is shining, making them a brilliant candidate for solar power.  Our thermal energy will power an air conditioning device, leaving the PV to power lightbulbs, computers and other devices in the building.


High-temperature heat drives an absorption chiller, replacing electrically powered air conditioning devices with solar powered ones.  The PV aspect of the PVT system provides an alternative electricity source.  Since electricity is a higher priced commodity than either gas or low grade heat, the total money saved in electricity bills is sufficient to pay back the initial capital expense and offer a return on the investment.

 

Listed below are some of the organisations we have collaborated with.

PARTNER ORGANISATIONS

 
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