COLL John Texter  Sunday, August 22, 2010 

35 - Self-cleaning photovoltaic panels with integrated transparent electrodynamic screens: Dust adhesion and removal mechanism

Prof. Malay K Mazumder, Prof. Mark N Horenstein, Dylan Jackson, Jeremy Stark, Shana Blumenthal Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA, United States; Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA, United States; Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA, United States; Electrical and Computer Engineering, Boston University, Boston, MA, United States

Presently,less than 0.04% of total energy is derived from photovoltaic (PV) panels worldwide.
However, global use of solar panels is increasing rapidly. From 2003 to 2008,
application of PV panels increased at a rate 47% and it is estimated that PV application will grow at a rate of 25% or better. Current market size of the PV modules is approximately $24 billion. If only 4% percent of the world's deserts were
dedicated to solar power, our current, worldwide energy needs could be completely
met. Solar-to-electricity conversion efficiency, whether derived by using photovoltaic
or photothermal devices, requires clean panels or clean solar concentrators to
maximize the utilization of sunlight. Large-scale solar installations, often
installed in deserts, suffer from dry dust deposition that obscures the solar
flux, significantly reducing efficiency.
For example, dust deposition in Arizona, USA, is approximately 17 g/m2
per month and the dust deposition rates are much higher in many areas, such as
Middle East, Australia, and in India. Experimental data show that a dust layer
of 4 g/m2 decreases solar power conversion by 40%. We present here development of an
electrodynamic transparent screen technology for automated removal of dust from
the panels without using water. The typical transparent screen contains
electrodes of transparent indium tin oxide (ITO) deposited on glass or transparent
plastic sheet covering the panels. When
properly energized by three-phase, 500- to 900-V pulses at 5 to 20 Hz, the
electrodes produce a traveling wave of electrostatic and dielectrophoretic
forces that lift dust particles from the surface and transport them to the
screen's edges, thereby cleaning the panel. Our experimental studies have shown
that 90% of deposited dust can be removed by the transparent screen in under 60
seconds. The energy requirement for dust removal is less than 10 W/m2.
The method is effective for both charged and uncharged particles regardless of
particle conductivity. A brief discussion on the adhesion of dust layer as a
function of particle size and dust composition and the automated removal
process are presented. The self-cleaniing technology can solve the dust problem
while decreasing the payback period by keeping solar panels at their maximum
possible output


Sunday, August 22, 2010 11:30 AM
Symposium in Honor of Kash Mittal (08:30 AM - 11:50 AM)
Location: The Westin Boston Waterfront
Room: Carlton

 

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