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A Step Towards Renewable Energy: Exploring Thermophotovoltaics (TPV) Efficiency and Manufacturing

TPV (Thermo Photovoltaic) Energy is a form of renewable energy that harnesses the heat from the sun and converts it into electricity. This type of energy system involves using an array of photovoltaic (PV) cells to capture sunlight and then converting the energy to electricity.

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The heat energy is then used to generate more electricity, so more power can be generated in a shorter amount of time. This type of renewable energy is considered to be one of the most promising forms of renewable energy as it is more efficient than traditional photovoltaics and can be used in a variety of applications.

Antora Energy has just presented TPV cells that are designed to capture the sun’s heat energy with its proprietary cooling technology, increase the efficiency of conversion, and create up to 40% more energy than traditional photovoltaics. This makes it possible to generate more energy in a shorter amount of time, and harnesses the energy more efficiently. This type of renewable energy is gaining popularity and is being used in a variety of applications from residential homes and businesses, to large-scale commercial applications.

PV, or photovoltaic energy was in fact already discovered long time ago, but current technology originated in the 1950s when scientists discovered that they could capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity using a device called a solar cell. Since then, the technology has become increasingly efficient and cost-effective.

The typical efficiency of PV cells is between 16-20%, as compared to the typical efficiency of TPV cells, which is in the 25-40% range. With its efficient and cost-effective technology, TPV energy is, as mentioned above, expected to quickly become a preferred method of energy generation. Antora Energy TPV cell specifications are as follows:

Voltage: 18-24V

Power Output: 1000-3000W

Efficiency: up to 40%

Temperature Range: -40°C to 70°C

Total Area of Cells: up to 500m2

As compared to Tesla Solar shingles, we can say that while they are both forms of solar energy, they are primarily used in different ways. Solar shingles are used on the roofs of homes or businesses to provide energy to the entire building, while TPV cells are used to generate energy that can be used to power a variety of applications. Solar shingles are generally used with other energy sources such as wind or hydro, while TPV cells are typically used as a standalone power source. In order to have an overview, Tesla Solar shingles characteristics are:

Voltage: 36V

Power Output: 240W

Efficiency: 22.2%

Temperature Range: -40°C to 85°C

Total Area of Cells: up to 9.9m2

Although Thermophotovoltaics (TPV) has been in development for decades, up until now it has not come to be taken seriously in the renewables industry, which mainly focuses on conventional photovoltaics and wind power. However, Antora Energy is now in a position to change that thanks to its new cells with efficiency rates of over 40%, which implies a notable advance that allows this technology to be considered a serious and efficient alternative for the industry.

Antora has basically reached the two critical thresholds for TPV technology by showing a heat-to-electricity conversion efficiency greater than 40%, as explained above, and the ability to manufacture TPV at scale, a critical condition. With its thermal battery technology, Antora can offer low-cost, zero-emission electricity on demand, using carbon blocks heated by renewable electricity.

This combined advance in TPV efficiency and manufacturing is the result of years of work with the support of various government entities and scientists. “Antora's advances in TPV could only have happened thanks to public support”, according to Antora's Head of R&D for TPV, Dr. Brendan Kayes. “In a race that truly ended up as a sprint, we were thankful for the government’s investment and involvement”.

The results of this project are promising and demonstrate the potential of Thermophotovoltaics (TPV) to become a globally relevant form of renewable energy. With advances in thermal battery technology and large-scale manufacturing, the technology will make it much easier to access clean energy in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Source: Antora Energy

All images courtesy of Tesla Inc.

Nico Caballero is the VP of Finance of Cogency Power, specializing in solar energy. He also holds a Diploma in Electric Cars from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, and enjoys doing research about Tesla and EV batteries. He can be reached at @NicoTorqueNews on Twitter. Nico covers Tesla and electric vehicle latest happenings at Torque News.

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