Thermo-photovoltaic (TPV) cells are great for converting radiation from any heat source to power. These cells can generate power from the wasted heat which gets released when glass or steel is produced. Adding these TPV cells to domestic power systems can help generate power along with heating water. TPV systems are also too complex for everyday use. Both of these reasons have made the TPV systems beyond industrial and domestic consumer routine set-up.
Though TPV cells can be utilized to enhance the domestic heating system efficiency, the cost is a daunting factor in deploying cated on epi-ready substrates, these cells were marketed for III-V layered epitaxial growth.
Unique new processing technique:
But IMEC has been researching newer and better techniques. IMEC has used amorphous Si by diffusion and passivation to form the emitter. Ge substrates specially designed were created and tested. Ge substrates defined (germanium-based) TPV cells had better quantum efficiency as compared to epi-ready started traditional TPV cells.
Benefits of new method:
The increased efficiency of the germanium-based TPV cells can means more electricity generation from waste heat. An increase in cell performance and reduction in cost are the direct outcome of the surface passivation techniques and the new contacting technologies that had been uniquely developed by IMEC. The new TPV cells will be crafted up on the special germanium substrate designed and created just for this.
Jef Poortmans, Director Photovoltaics, IMEC, claimed, “IMEC’s research into photovoltaics aims at finding techniques to fabricate cost-efficient and more efficient solar cells.” IMEC has had a long innings in making silicon solar cells and this has been instrumental in the success of their TPV research.
As band-gap of the germanium is very near the emission peak of the TPV system emitters, germanium-based photovoltaic devices can be found as the suitable receivers for these kinds of systems. Now with the decreased cell cost because of the better processing techniques, the future of the market for thermo-photovoltaic applications looks brighter.