Innovate UK Funded Project - Advances in Photovoltaic Thermal (PVT) Technology
Heat and electrical energy are invaluable commodities. Using fossil fuels to generate electricity to generate heat energy, to drive heating, hot water, refrigeration, air conditioning, and similar appliances, is inefficient and costing us the health of our biosphere.
Conventional air conditioning technology is a particularly troubling case, emitting more greenhouse gases after end-of-life than during operation. If we can power such a heat process with heat energy from the sun - we will disrupt the negative feedback loop of AC causing more emissions, creating a warmer climate, and therefore increasing demand for AC.
PVT has the potential to supply all the energy needs of infrastructure if we can overcome the current limitations.
Optical Transfer of Heat with Electrical and Light Output.
The OTHELLO project is an investigation into how we can decarbonise heat energy and electricity generation.
The first objective is to tackle the current drawbacks of low-grade heat generation and loss of electrical generating efficiency due to heat absorption. Generating a higher grade heat – a more useful energy – has the power to drive such energy-intense appliances, and simultaneously mitigate loss to the efficiency which sunlight is converted to electricity.
Meeting the demand for electricity in a building is controlled by the technology's efficiency, and the potential for installed capacity. Currently, only available roof and ground space are able to be utilised by solar systems – due to the required angle and orientation towards the sun.
Our second objective is to employ the entire exterior surface area – including vertical wall space – of a building's envelope. Utilising vertical space enhances the potential for installed capacity and therefore the ability of the solar system to fully supply the energy requirements of operating infrastructure.
Solar technology is expensive and currently not as efficient as the polluting counterparts in providing the world's energy. However, OTHELLO also demands the use of cheap, abundant / recycled materials. Manufacturing with simplicity in mind to open up the technology to the globe.
THE TEAM AND OUR AMBITIONS
We are a team of research and industry leaders from across the UK who have joined forces, working to help solve the energy crisis using PVT.
Coupling a unique optical system, designed at Photon Engineers, with the world-renowned thin-film Cadmium Telluride expertise at Swansea University’s Centre for Solar Energy Research, plus the expertise and experience of Polysolar and Specific, we are designing a technology that will productively utilise a wider range of energies from the sun with the ability to be installed horizontally, vertically, and any angle in between, towards the sun.
Our vision is providing advanced standards of living for building occupants the world over. Supplying energy generated from their immediate surroundings, that is clean and supportive of future prosperity. Building's as their own power stations, combined with living green walls, is a profound and beautiful solution to meeting our energy needs in a growing population.