Use of Multiphysics modeling to improve solar thin film performance and manufacture
Clean Technology 2008

Use of Multiphysics modeling to improve solar thin film performance and manufacture

A. Jain, J. Sanyal, V. Ivanov, E. Grald, A. Mukhopadhyay

thin films, PV systems, CIGS, CVD, film growth, stress analysis, thermal fatigue, radiation

Solar and wind energy are gaining attention for both technology innovation and commercialization, due to the environmental impacts of conventional energy sources, lack of technology breakthrough with hydrogen based systems, and rising oil prices,. Among solar energy technologies, thin film photovoltaic systems promise greater cost effectiveness, but they require significant improvement in conversion efficiency, packaging, scale-up in manufacturing and quality control. Multiphysics modeling, which includes effects of fluid flow, heat/mass transfer, electric fields, etc., provides valuable insight to achieve these improvements. We will address a number of critical simulation elements that deal with the complexities of multiple length scales, multiple physics and multiple product enhancement objectives. Emphasis will be on radiative energy transport in and around the refractive structure of the thin films, including effects of semi-transparency, surface texture, and media heterogeneity on photovoltaic performance. Upstream and product formation technologies will also be discussed including chemical vapor deposition, film thickness and composition predictions. Cyclic exposure to sun heat sources will cause periodic thermal stresses in different parts of these solar cell matrices. Attempt will be made to analyze and report impact of periodic stress inductions on these structures along with radiative heat transport around and through them.