Performance analysis of solar thermophotovoltaic conversion enhanced by selective metamaterial absorbers and emitters

Hao Wang, Jui Yung Chang, Yue Yang, Liping Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


By converting broadband sunlight into narrowband thermal radiation matched to the bandgap of thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells, solar thermophotovoltaic (STPV) systems could potentially reach a high conversion efficiency far exceeding the Shockley-Queisser limit. However, actual STPV systems exhibit much lower efficiency due to non-idealities in solar absorbers, thermal emitters and TPV cells. In this work, the STPV system with selective metamaterial solar absorber and emitter is investigated, whose conversion efficiency is between 8% and 10% with concentration factor varying between 20 and 200. This conversion efficiency is remarkably enhanced compared with the conversion efficiency of less than 2.5% for the STPV system employing black absorbers and emitters. The sidewall emission losses from the absorber-emitter module and the non-unity view factor between the thermal emitter and TPV cell will diminish the performance of the STPV system, whose effects are also quantitatively discussed in this work. Furthermore, the non-planar STPV systems with larger emitter-absorber area ratios are investigated, whose conversion efficiency can reach up to 12.6% under 200 suns when the emitter is four times as large as the absorber.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)788-798
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer
StatePublished - Jul 2016


  • Efficiency analysis
  • Metamaterial
  • Selective absorption and emission
  • Solar energy
  • Thermophotovoltaic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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