PROJECT TITLE: Integrated PV Solar Panel with Graphene Supercapacitors
PhD period: 2020.02.01 – 2023.01.31.
Section: Power Electronic Systems
Research Programme: Photovoltaic Systems and Battery Storage Systems
Supervisor: Daniel-Ioan Stroe
Co-Supervisors: Tamas Kerekes, Dezso Sera and Sergiu Spataru
Collaborator: Queensland University of Technology and DTU-Fotonik.
One of the limitations of photovoltaic energy is the intermittent and fluctuating power output, which does not necessarily meet the consumption profile. Energy storage can mitigate this issue as the generated power can be stored and used at the needed time.
Integrating energy storage directly in the PV panel provides advantages in terms of simplified system design, reduced overall cost and increased system flexibility. The most common energy storage technology are Lithium-ion batteries, which is a mature technology, however it has disadvantages such as high cost and limited lifetime. The harsh temperature profile of outdoor PV panels is also a challenge to most of Li-based battery today. Supercapacitors are a promising solution for energy storage with a much longer cycling life, higher power density and better safety when compared to Li-ion batteries. While the energy density of supercapacitors still lags that of Li-ion batteries, they have the potential to surpass Li-ion batteries also in terms of energy density. Graphene-based supercapacitors appear particularly promising.
Incorporating supercapacitors directly in the PV panel on module or cell level raises some challenges regarding the electrical integration, such as charge controlling for the capacitors, capacitor matching, as well as internal power electronics layout. Physical integration of graphene supercapacitors with solar cells, at module- or cell-level presents challenges related to physical dimensioning, thermal management and life expectation of the entire system.
The main goal of this research is to develop supercapacitor-based integrated PV – energy storage systems, where the supercapacitor is built into the PV panel. Key research tasks include: characterisation of graphene super capacitors and PV cells in view of optimal electrical and physical integration, investigation of optimum PV cells – supercapacitor interconnection layout within the panel, and selection and control of PV cell-supercapacitor and panel level power electronic interfaces.
Publications in journals and conference papers may be found at VBN.