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Simulations of non-monolithic tandem solar cell configurations for electrolytic fuel generation

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Abstract

The efficient conversion of solar energy to fuels through electrochemical processes requires optimizing the photovoltage and current for an ideal coupling with the electrolysis reaction. A modular architecture for tandem photovoltaics is explored and modeled as a strategy to drive an arbitrary electrolysis reaction from sunlight to produce the maximum fuel product in a day. Non-monolithic tandem solar cells based on Si and organometal halide perovskites are simulated in two-terminal and four-terminal arrangements and coupled with experimental data on water-splitting and CO2 reduction to predict the performance of an integrated solar fuels system. An appropriately designed four-terminal system is modeled to match or exceed the output of a two-terminal system. The four-terminal configuration leads to a 15.8% increase in daily H2 production with a 1.5 eV/1.12 eV system, and a 5.3% increase with a more ideal 1.74 eV/1.12 eV combination. The four-terminal system is also simulated to match the production of formic acid and increase the production of ethylene by 20.4% in a Cu-catalyzed CO2 reduction process compared to a two-terminal tandem arrangement. The effects of series resistance in non-monolithic tandem devices are modeled as well, showing a much greater tolerance to cell width in the four-terminal systems.

Graphical abstract: Simulations of non-monolithic tandem solar cell configurations for electrolytic fuel generation

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Publication details

The article was received on 09 May 2017, accepted on 06 Jun 2017 and first published on 06 Jun 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7TA04022A
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, Advance Article
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    Simulations of non-monolithic tandem solar cell configurations for electrolytic fuel generation

    R. T. White, B. Kumar, S. Kumari and J. M. Spurgeon, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7TA04022A

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