Improved Solar Energy Extraction Using a Combined Photo-Electrochemical / Thermal System for Domestic Applications
Just as it is possible to have a PV/T hybrid system, the PEC unit may also be used in a PEC/T hybrid mode, thus delivering both heat and power as a CHP system. Despite the promise of PEC technology, there is little research on it in terms of modelling and system simulation. According to the knowledge of the authors there is no published research on such hybrid systems.
In this work, a model of a hybrid PEC/T system has been implemented. Simulations with this model were carried out to compare PEC technology and its developments in terms of energy gain in a home environment where both heat and electricity demands are used. When there is heat demand, a buffer tank is implemented for heat storage.
Case studies were considered, consisting of a typical three-person household in the UK to investigate the present and the near-future capability of energy supplying and reduction of CO2 emission according to the UK building energy regulation.
Results show that single band-gap photo-electrode materials are not able to cover completely the energy demands for the household if demand includes space and hot water heating. However, with multiple band-gap electrodes and with extra solar heat (or combined PEC-thermal) utilization the system efficiency can be significantly increased.