Post Date
May 26 2022

Optimization of Solar Cell Design for Applications of Photovoltaics in Efficient Utilization of the Food-Water-Energy Nexus

Dr. Nauman Zafar Butt
Hassan Imran
Reference / Filters
Electrical Engineering
The integration of photovoltaic (PV) technology with agriculture farms, greenhouses, and, water reservoirs (canals, rivers, dams, etc.) to simultaneously maximize the energy generation, food production, and, water utility is one of the most promising approaches to fulfil the growing demands of food, water and energy as well as to overcome the concern of global warming. This combined approach is currently getting a huge popularity in global research due to its particular relevance to densely populated countries like Pakistan since it can avoid the loss of a significant agricultural farmland area by solar parks for the anticipated expansion of large scale renewable energy production. An efficient integration of solar technology for such emerging applications requires innovations at both cell and system levels. This thesis addresses both cell/system issues for solar PV integration on agricultural land. The thesis is divided into two parts. In the first part, the techniques to improve the solar cell efficiency are studied, and in the second part, the system level integration of PV technology with agriculture and its related concerns are discussed. The first part includes (i) a study on the novel carrier selective contacts that are based on wide bandgap materials such as NiO and "Ti" "O" _"2" for silicon based solar cells, (ii) innovative top conducting electrodes (TCO) made of single walled carbon nanotube or graphene to replace the conventional low performance TCO and highly doped emitter in conventional silicon solar cells, (iii) the emerging perovskite solar cell technologies, in particular, a study on hysteresis phenomenon in these solar cells, and (iv) an integration of perovskite cell technology with silicon cells to make high performance tandem solar cell structures. In the second part of this thesis, we develop a mathematical model for efficient integration of photovoltaics with agriculture. In particular, we compare the performance of bifacial vertical solar farm with conventional monofacial tilted solar panels for the dual energy-crop production. Finally, we investigate the effect of soiling on PV system performance which can be a major loss mechanism for PV systems that are installed in high dust climates. In summary, the work presented in this thesis proposes promising solutions for the global environmental concerns and the related food, water and energy challenges using solar PV technology especially for the developing countries such as Pakistan.

Journal Publications

[J1] M. H. Riaz, R. Younas, H. Imran, M. A. Alam and N. Z. Butt, “Agrivoltaic Farm Design: Vertical Bifacial vs. Tilted Monofacial Photovoltaic Panels,” Applied Energy, 2020 [under review].

[J2] U. B. Qasim, H. Imran, M. Kamran, M. Faryad and N. Z. Butt, “Computational study of stack/terminal topologies for perovskite based bifacial tandem solar cells,” Solar Energy, vol. 203, pp. 1-9, 2020.

[J3] S. Iqbal, K. Riaz, H. Imran, Y. H. Khattak, F. Baig and Z. Ahmad, “Computational Modelling of Monolithically Stacked Perovskite/Silicon Tandem Solar Cells Using Monofacial and Bifacial Designs,” Optik, p. 163427, 2019.

[J4] A. Ullah, H. Imran, Z. Maqsood, and N. Z. Butt, “Investigation of Optimal Tilt Angles and Effects of Soiling on PV Energy Production in Pakistan,” Renewable Energy, vol. 139, pp. 830–843, 2019.

[J5] R. Younas, H. Imran, S. I. H. Shah, T. M. Abdolkader, and N. Z. Butt, “Computational Modeling of Polycrystalline Silicon on Oxide Passivating Contact for Silicon Solar Cells,” IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, vol. 66, no. 4, pp. 1819–1826, 2019.

[J6] H. Ullah, H. Imran, and N. Z. Butt, “Modeling of TiO2-Based Electron Selective Contacts for Crystalline Silicon Solar Cells,” IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, vol. 65, no. 10, pp. 4421–4428, 2018.

[J7] H. Imran, I. Durrani, M. Kamran, T. M. Abdolkader, M. Faryad, and N. Z. Butt, “High-Performance Bifacial Perovskite/Silicon Double-Tandem Solar Cell,” IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 1222–1229, 2018.

[J8] H. Imran, T. M. Abdolkader, and N. Z. Butt, “Carrier-Selective NiO/Si and TiO2/Si Contacts for Silicon Heterojunction Solar Cells,” IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, vol. 63, no. 9, pp. 3584–3590, 2016.

[J9] H. Imran and N. Z. Butt, “Computational Study of Hybrid Nanomaterial/ Insulator/Silicon Solar Cells,” IEEE Transactions on Electron Devices, vol. 62, no. 10, pp. 3111–3116, 2015.

Conference Publications

[C1] H. Imran, Z. Maqsood, A. Ullah and N. Z. Butt, “Effective Prediction of Transmission of Solar Irradiance through Dusty Solar Panels using Atmospheric Aerosol Data for Lahore, Pakistan,” in Proc. IEEE 46rd Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), 2019, pp. 2889–2893.

[C2] H. Imran and N. Z. Butt, “Investigation of Dominant Hysteresis Phenomenon in Perovskite Solar Cell,” in Proc. IEEE 43rd Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), 2016, pp. 0776–0780.