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Title: A Computational Study of Optically Concentrating, Solar-Fuels Generators from Annual Thermal- and Fuel-Production Efficiency Perspectives

Abstract

The commercial deployment of wireless photoelectrochemical cells (PECs) may provide a viable means to close the anthropogenic carbon cycle associated with the global transportation sector. The growing body of research on PECs has largely focused on developing and integrating the materials necessary for robust, efficient solar-fuel production on the laboratory benchtop. While these efforts are a prerequisite for the commercialization of PECs, deployed PECs will have to contend with extreme heat, cold, and insolation variations in the outdoor environment. They will also have to operate efficiently throughout their lifetime and in multiple locations. This paper reports a computational framework for estimating the hourly profiles of time-varying temperature and solar-to-hydrogen efficiency that optically concentrating, wireless PECs will attain over the course of a typical year. It is found that annual weighted average solar-to-hydrogen efficiencies in excess of 9 to 11% can be achieved in extremely cloudy and sunny locations, respectively. Additionally, typical PECs will likely incur damage due to overheating or freezing; measures to protect PECs from extreme heat and cold are outlined. Here, the findings also help to bring into focus issues regarding real-world deployment of energy-generation technologies and methodologies towards tackling them.

Authors:
 [1]; ORCiD logo [2]
  1. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22). Chemical Sciences, Geosciences & Biosciences Division
OSTI Identifier:
1474907
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of the Electrochemical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 163; Journal Issue: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 0013-4651
Publisher:
The Electrochemical Society
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
25 ENERGY STORAGE; 32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; Artificial Photosynthesis; hydrogen; modeling; Optical Concentration; photoelectrochemistry; solar fuel; Thermal Analysis; Water splitting

Citation Formats

Stevens, John C., and Weber, Adam Z.. A Computational Study of Optically Concentrating, Solar-Fuels Generators from Annual Thermal- and Fuel-Production Efficiency Perspectives. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.1149/2.0121607jes.
Stevens, John C., & Weber, Adam Z.. A Computational Study of Optically Concentrating, Solar-Fuels Generators from Annual Thermal- and Fuel-Production Efficiency Perspectives. United States. doi:10.1149/2.0121607jes.
Stevens, John C., and Weber, Adam Z.. Sat . "A Computational Study of Optically Concentrating, Solar-Fuels Generators from Annual Thermal- and Fuel-Production Efficiency Perspectives". United States. doi:10.1149/2.0121607jes. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1474907.
@article{osti_1474907,
title = {A Computational Study of Optically Concentrating, Solar-Fuels Generators from Annual Thermal- and Fuel-Production Efficiency Perspectives},
author = {Stevens, John C. and Weber, Adam Z.},
abstractNote = {The commercial deployment of wireless photoelectrochemical cells (PECs) may provide a viable means to close the anthropogenic carbon cycle associated with the global transportation sector. The growing body of research on PECs has largely focused on developing and integrating the materials necessary for robust, efficient solar-fuel production on the laboratory benchtop. While these efforts are a prerequisite for the commercialization of PECs, deployed PECs will have to contend with extreme heat, cold, and insolation variations in the outdoor environment. They will also have to operate efficiently throughout their lifetime and in multiple locations. This paper reports a computational framework for estimating the hourly profiles of time-varying temperature and solar-to-hydrogen efficiency that optically concentrating, wireless PECs will attain over the course of a typical year. It is found that annual weighted average solar-to-hydrogen efficiencies in excess of 9 to 11% can be achieved in extremely cloudy and sunny locations, respectively. Additionally, typical PECs will likely incur damage due to overheating or freezing; measures to protect PECs from extreme heat and cold are outlined. Here, the findings also help to bring into focus issues regarding real-world deployment of energy-generation technologies and methodologies towards tackling them.},
doi = {10.1149/2.0121607jes},
journal = {Journal of the Electrochemical Society},
number = 7,
volume = 163,
place = {United States},
year = {Sat Apr 02 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Sat Apr 02 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}

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Works referenced in this record:

Powering the planet: Chemical challenges in solar energy utilization
journal, October 2006

  • Lewis, N. S.; Nocera, D. G.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 103, Issue 43, p. 15729-15735
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A comprehensive review on PEM water electrolysis
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