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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2013, Article ID 704087, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/704087
Research Article

Investigation of Solar Hybrid Electric/Thermal System with Radiation Concentrator and Thermoelectric Generator

CINVESTAV del IPN, Unidad Querétaro, Libramiento Norponiente 2000, 76230 Querétaro, QRO, Mexico

Received 16 October 2012; Revised 8 January 2013; Accepted 1 February 2013

Academic Editor: Keith Emery

Copyright © 2013 Edgar Arturo Chávez Urbiola and Yuri Vorobiev. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

An experimental study of a solar-concentrating system based on thermoelectric generators (TEGs) was performed. The system included an electrical generating unit with 6 serially connected TEGs using a traditional semiconductor material, Bi2Te3, which was illuminated by concentrated solar radiation on one side and cooled by running water on the other side. A sun-tracking concentrator with a mosaic set of mirrors was used; its orientation towards the sun was achieved with two pairs of radiation sensors, a differential amplifier, and two servomotors. The hot side of the TEGs at midday has a temperature of around 200°C, and the cold side is approximately 50°C. The thermosiphon cooling system was designed to absorb the heat passing through the TEGs and provide optimal working conditions. The system generates 20 W of electrical energy and 200 W of thermal energy stored in water with a temperature of around 50°C. The hybrid system studied can be considered as an alternative to photovoltaic/thermal systems, especially in countries with abundant solar radiation, such as Mexico, China, and India.