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Two-in-one solar panels

25/09/2017

Two engineering graduates have developed the panel, incorporating an ultra-thin heat exchanger constructed from molybdenum-containing Type 444 stainless steel, which greatly increases the amount of solar energy extracted per square meter.


Photo credit: © DualSun

Typical silicon –based PV panels have a relatively low conversion rate of 15-20%, trapping untapped thermal energy which reduces the efficiency of electricity generation. Existing thermal collector designs were incompatible with traditional PV panels, so the engineers developed an innovative hybrid panel. Consisting of a PV array thermally bonded to a heat exchanger, the panel generates electricity much more efficiently as the PV cells are constantly cooled, a process which produces hot water for domestic use, increasing the total conversion efficiency to between 30 and 60%.

Unlike other candidate materials for the heat exchanger, the stainless steel is barely affected by the high operating temperatures, while the use of a molybdenum-containing grade provides greatly increases corrosion resistance on the inside and the outside of the exchanger.

You can read more about this new technology in MolyReview, in which we showcase some of the interesting and amazing uses of molybdenum. Jump straight to this article here.

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