Author Topic: Combating Problems with Solar Power: A cost Effective Improvement on the Convers  (Read 2648 times)

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Author : Engr. C.O. Osueke (Ph.D), Engr. E.M. Onyekachi, Engr. I.O. Nwabueze
International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research Volume 2, Issue 10, October-2011
ISSN 2229-5518
Download Full Paper : PDF

Absract - There is no point harnessing an energy resource that has no economic value. Solar energy poses a strong threat to other forms of energy due to its purity and availability. The problem associated with harnessing solar power mainly comes from the cost and efficiency of the photovoltaic (P-V) panels. This work proffers a solution to this problem by combining the effect of colours and lenses based on the principle of white light spectrum and its behavior with lenses. A 0.9m by 0.3m mono-crystalline solar panel with a manufacturer specification of 18% efficiency, 50W maximum output power, 18V maximum voltage output & 2.77A maximum current output was used for experiments in combination with a sheet of convex lens, glass panes dyed with various colours of the light spectrum, a battery operated portable multi-meter, a meter rule, and a mount frame. Experiments were conducted for different time schedules for three days of assumed equal intensity. The results of the experiments are presented in stages and it was discovered that at stage 3, the system which is a combination of solar panel, violet colour filter and convex lens yielded a productivity of over 96% with power output of 47.67W.A. This is almost a total extortion of white light energy as provided by the solar panel.

Index Terms Colour filter, Combat, Convex lens, Efficiency, Problem, Solar panel, Solar power.

Solar power is actually one of the cleanest methods of energy production the world has ever known. Infact, most of the energy known to man is derived in some way from the sun. When we burn wood or other fuels, we are releasing the stored energy of the sun. Infact, there would be no life on earth without the sun which provides energy needed for the growth of plants and indirectly, the existence of all animal life [24]. The form that is of major interest to researchers and the world at large is the direct conversion of the sun rays into a usable energy source (electricity).    Every second, 3.38 * 1026 J of nuclear energy is released by the sun's core [23]. This makes the solar energy from the sun a truly enormous one. on the average, the Earth's surface receives about 1.2 * 1017 W of solar power. This means that in less than one hour, enough energy is supplied to the earth to satisfy the entire energy demand of the human population over the whole year [16]. This led to numerous researches and discoveries in a bid to harness this energy. In 1839, a nineteen year old by the name Alexander Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect [22]. This effect is the physical process through which a solar cell converts sunlight into electricity. The basis for the modern solar cell, however, can more directly be traced back to William Grylls Adams [22]. Back in 1876, Mr. Adams discovered that selenium generated an electric current when exposed to light [22]. For the next 50 60 yrs, the developments were not so bold, but even Albert Einstein was working on using solar power, he was even granted a Nobel prize in 1921 for his work on the photoelectric effect.
While the years of solar power went by quietly, in the 1950's the development of solar power was benefitted by the production of the Czochralski meter. This was a process that produced pure crystalline silicon and by 1954, Bell telephone  laboratories had developed a silicon photovoltaic cell that had a four percent (4%) efficiency that was later boosted to 11% efficiency [8]. Since then, the evolution of solar technologies and photovoltaics have been gaining increasing market share for the last 20 yrs. Even though the development of photovoltaic system has been increasing steadily for the last 20 years, solar technologies still suffer from some draw-backs that make them poorly competitive on an energy market dominated by fossil fuels. Nevertheless global generation of solar electricity is still small compared to the potential of this resource [4]. Current electricity generation from PV's is only of the order of 2.6 GW compared to 36.3GW for all renewable energies, excluding hydroelectric power [6,5].

 This low consumption of solar power led to the force behind this work. It was found out that the major setback was as a result of the cost and efficiency of the conversion medium (solar panel). The objective of this work then becomes to combat these constraints using simple technologies to achieve the aim of developing affordable and highly efficient conversion medium.

Before procession, a further brief look into the achievements of few past researchers needs to be done in order to understand the magnitude of the task ahead. Solar energy collection efficiency has improved, growing from the first passive collection methods (efficiency approx 1%) to the current applicable methods (efficiency approx 15-20%) [11]. This issue has been examined from several angles, both from that of maximum possible efficiency, and from that of highest possible efficiency while remaining industrially feasible.
Kribus study [11] delivered an examination of a new process with efficiencies approaching 70%, although it would be difficult and extremely expensive, probably too much so to be economically feasible. Normal panels use a double cycle conversion process. Kribus [11] introduces a triple cycle, the first of which operates at extremely high temperatures, it is called a magneto-hydro-dynamic (MHD) cycle, and can operate at temperatures in the range of 2000 - 2500, up from the current limit of about 1300.

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