Solar photovoltaic (PV) which is one of the technologies that harness solar energy by converting the sunlight directly into electricity has shown a tremendous growth and has the capability to address the on-going energy issue. Although the prices of PV modules are going down partially due to an oversupply in the market, the overall PV system’s installation cost in numerous nations is still deemed to be quite expensive. Based on the IEA- Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme (PVPS) analysis, the PV module contributed between 40% and 50% of the total cost of installation.
A possible way to reduce the amount of expensive PV material and therefore the cost of the PV modules and the PV systems is by using a solar concentrator – a device (mainly constructed from a low cost refractive and/or reflective material) that focuses the solar radiation from a large entrance aperture area into a smaller exit aperture where a solar cell is attached. This allows the system to generate a similar or higher electrical output than a conventional PV system, while at the same time using only a fraction of the PV material, hence reducing the cost of the PV system.
The research will cover the overall aspect of the concentrator, both the technical and non- technical aspects. This approach has never been explored by the other researcher since they typically focuses on the technical aspect of the concentrator’s performance. By addressing these issues, it is predicted that the ‘best’ concentrator for building integration could be achieved with a huge potential to be commercialised. To achieve this aim, the project could explore four components, which include: (i) to design and analyse the electrical and optical performance of the concentrator via simulation and experiments; (ii) to evaluate the illumination and heating and cooling properties of the concentrator and
ways to utilised them to quantify the electricity and heating requirement of the building; (iii) to carry out the cost and life cycle analysis as well as to identify the way of integrating such concentrator into the building design, and (iv) to evaluate the prospect and challenges in the market and policies gap for implementing the technology as well as its impact on the economy and the general public.
A first degree (at least a 2.1) ideally in relevant discipline such Electrical & Electronics Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Renewable Energy, or Materials Science. An MSc in a relevant subject is highly desirable with a good fundamental knowledge of opto-electronics and heat transfer.
English language requirement
IELTS score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 6.0 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s policy are available online.
· Experience of fundamental engineering, particularly in opto-electronics and heat transfer.
· Competent in programming language, e.g. MATLAB/Simulink.
· Knowledge of CFD is advantageous.
· Good written and oral communication skills
· Strong motivation, with evidence of independent research skills relevant to the project
· Good time management
Have a knowledge in ray-tracing software such as ZEMAX, APEX or COMSOL.