Harvesting heat energy using photovoltaics is a field of research in the midst of a revival. Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) conversion consists in converting radiant heat energy from hot sources (at 600 °C and more) into electrical energy using photovoltaic cells. The thermal energy may come from combustion, nuclear reactions (for spatial applications), waste heat sources (high-temperature industrial processes) and concentrated solar radiation using an intermediate radiation absorber. Thermal energy storage can be used for overcoming the issue of intermittent supply of wind and direct solar generated electricity.

Schematic of thermophotovoltaic energy converters.

In this context, the Institute and its partners are involved in multiple actions: 

Ongoing:

  • design, fabrication and characterization of low-bandgap (< 0.36 eV) thermophotovoltaic cells, in the frame of a project funded by the ANR (LOW-GAP-TPV, 11/2021-10/2025) involving the group NanoMIR of the Institute, the group TNR of Institut Pprime, and the group OR2T of CEMHTI.
  • leading contributor of the project-team TREE on thermal radiation to electrical energy converters, gathering 5 French laboratories collaborating in this field.
  • guest editor of a Special Issue on thermophotovoltaics in Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells (Elsevier): the articles are under review and accepted manuscripts will be available online soon.
  • contribution to the organisation of the 13th World Conference on Thermophotovoltaic Generation of Electricity (TPV-13).

Recent:

For further information on this topic: