Modeling integrated photovoltaic-electrochemical devices using steady-state equivalent circuits
Author(s)Winkler, Mark Thomas; Cox, Casandra Rose; Nocera, Daniel G.; Buonassisi, Tonio
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We describe a framework for efficiently coupling the power output of a series-connected string of single-band-gap solar cells to an electrochemical process that produces storable fuels. We identify the fundamental efficiency limitations that arise from using solar cells with a single band gap, an arrangement that describes the use of currently economic solar cell technologies such as Si or CdTe. Steady-state equivalent circuit analysis permits modeling of practical systems. For the water-splitting reaction, modeling defines parameters that enable a solar-to-fuels efficiency exceeding 18% using laboratory GaAs cells and 16% using all earth-abundant components, including commercial Si solar cells and Co- or Ni-based oxygen evolving catalysts. Circuit analysis also provides a predictive tool: given the performance of the separate photovoltaic and electrochemical systems, the behavior of the coupled photovoltaic–electrochemical system can be anticipated. This predictive utility is demonstrated in the case of water oxidation at the surface of a Si solar cell, using a Co–borate catalyst.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Chemistry; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
Winkler, M. T., C. R. Cox, D. G. Nocera, and T. Buonassisi. “Modeling integrated photovoltaic-electrochemical devices using steady-state equivalent circuits.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110, no. 12 (March 19, 2013): E1076-E1082.
Final published version