Our publication in Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells

Our work on photon-enhanced thermionic emission (PETE) has been published in the Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells. The paper title is “Comprehensive energy balance analysis of photon-enhanced thermionic power generation considering concentrated solar absorption distribution

Abstract: The present article reports a comprehensive energy balance analysis of a photon-enhanced thermionic emission (PETE) device when it is used for concentrated solar power (CSP) generation. To this end, we consider a realistic PETE device composed of a boron-doped silicon emitter on glass and a phosphorus-doped diamond collector on tungsten separated by the interelectrode vacuum gap. Depth-dependent spectral solar absorption and its photovoltaic and photothermal energy conversion processes are rigorously calculated to predict the PETE power output and energy conversion efficiency. Our calculation predicts that when optimized, the power output of the considered PETE device can reach 1.6 W/cm2 with the energy conversion efficiency of ∼ 18% for 100× solar concentration, which is substantially lower than those predicted in previous works under ideal conditions. In addition, the photon enhancement ratio is lower than 10 and decreases with the increasing solar concentration due to the photothermal heating of the emitter assembly, suggesting that PETE should be more suitable for low-to-medium CSP below ∼ 100× concentration. These observations signify the importance of a rigorous energy balance analysis based on spectral and spatial solar absorption distribution for the accurate prediction of PETE power generation.