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Masdar Institute developing low-cost CPV system

Claims to have potential to be placed on rooftops

| | Apr 7, 2016 | 11:20 am
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Abu Dhabi, UAE: Masdar Institute has announced that its researchers are developing a low-cost concentrating photovoltaics (CPV) system, which has the potential to be placed on rooftops. The research team, said the institute, is leveraging the key strength of CPV – namely, its ability to concentrate sunlight on to high-efficient solar cells – in a much smaller system.

Current CPV technologies, while being efficient, are known to have a large physical footprint. Underlining this, Masdar Institute Research Engineer Harry Apostoleris, whose Master’s thesis has focused on this work, explained: “Traditional CPV systems rotate solar panels to face the sun, using a mechanical tracker that is both expensive and too big to put on rooftops. We are trying to accomplish this tracking through a flat system that does not move, by changing only the optical properties of the collector, not its physical orientation.”

Apostoleris is reportedly the lead author of a paper published on the research earlier this month, in the journal Nature Energy, with his Supervisor, Dr Matteo Chiesa, Associate Professor of Mechanical and Materials Science Engineering, Masdar Institute, and Dr Marco Stefancich, Researcher at the National Research Center in Parma, Italy. Their research, said Masdar Institute, was awarded an MIT Deshpande Center research grant for its innovative potential.

“Our CPV system is compact, stationary and made of low-cost materials, which are key requirements for distributed PVs,” said Dr Chiesa.

Dr Chiesa and Apostoleris have reportedly filed a patent for their Proof-of-Concept (PoC) sun-tracking system, which they believe, is the first step towards commercialisation of the technology.

Masdar Institute claimed that the research team’s development of a next-generation CPV technology reflects the institute’s support of research that seeks to find sustainable, clean energy alternatives that are price-competitive with conventional, fossil-fuel sources.

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