Chip-Scale Solar-Thermal-Electrical Power Generation

    Zhihang Wang1, Zhenhua Wu2, Zhiyu Hu2, Jessica Orrego-Hernandez1, Erzhen Mu3, Zhao-Yang Zhang4, Martyn Jevric1, Yang Liu2, Xuecheng Fu5, Fengdan Wang5, Tao Li4, Kasper Moth-Poulsen1

    • 1Chalmers University of Technology - Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
    • 2Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) - National Key Laboratory of Science and Technology on Micro/Nano Fabrication
    • 3Henan Polytechnic University - School of Materials Science and Engineering
    • 4Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) - Shanghai Key Laboratory of Electrical Insulation and Thermal Aging
    • 5Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) - Center for Advanced Electronic, Materials and Devices (AEMD)

    Electricity derived from photovoltaics is limited by solar intermittency. Storing solar energy for on-demand power production could address this challenge. Here, we combined both solution- and neat film-based molecular solar thermal (MOST) systems, where solar energy can be stored as chemical energy and released as heat, with microfabricated thermoelectric generators (MEMS-TEG) to produce electricity when solar radiation is not available. The novel small-scale hybrid integrated devices demonstrated continuous power densities of up to 1.3 W·m-3 by storing solar energy in Sweden then releasing heat and generating electricity in China. Our results show that, the proof-of-principle on a small scale and independent of time and geographical restrictions, opportunities exist for local solar energy storage and power production beyond traditional photovoltaic-electrochemical cell technologies.

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