A Proposed New Concept for a Solar-Energy Converter

[+] Author and Article Information
R. L. Bailey

Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.

J. Eng. Power 94(2), 73-77 (Apr 01, 1972) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3445660 History: Received July 26, 1971; Online July 14, 2010


The potential advantages of terrestrially utilizing nonpolluting solar energy are well-known. One of the more promising approaches to achieving the desired high solar-electrical conversion efficiency is the direct process, avoiding Carnot efficiency limitations of heat engines. The chief present-art example is the large area silicon solar cell based on utilization of quantum properties of light. In the United States it is now an established technology created from the space program. This paper presents the results of some preliminary new research exploring the possibilities of creating high efficiency solar-electricity converters utilizing wave-like properties of radiation interacting with absorber-converter elements. The concept is revealed for what is believed to be a new, unique, and potentially useful pyramidical solar radiation absorber-converter structure. It is based on the possibility of extending concepts of power absorbing antennas and converters to the visible light range. The resulting proposed converter structure would have a rough surface texture and yield a d-c output. It may have, if subsequently researched, significant efficiency, cost, and fabricating advantages, particularly for large-scale terrestrial utilization of solar energy. The concept is called an Electromagnetic Wave Energy Converter (EWEC). Concept validity evidences of a preliminary kind at both microwave and near light wavelengths are presented.

Copyright © 1972 by ASME
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