A Spanish research institution has developed a photo-thermoelectric cell with spectral selectivity to visible and infrared lights. This device is presented as a new option to produce electrical energy, or to take advantage of residual heat.
The photo-thermal thin-film cell presented is similar to photovoltaic cells but, due to the nature of its materials, its manufacturing can be accomplished with much simpler technologies. The cell consists on a thermoelectric material, which can produce electricity when it is subjected to a temperature difference. To enhance this process, a spectrally selective coating (SSC) is applied in different areas; this SSC allows to increase the temperature of the material covered area and generate electric current.
The correct election of the different layer thicknesses, combined with an appropriate substrate and coating, allows producing better architectures than those currently proposed for some applications: the present photo-thermal cell shows the same properties, it has higher efficiency, and it can lead to lower production costs.
Industrial partner is being sought to collaborate through a patent license agreement. The partner role will be: (i) produce the cells and, (ii) commercialize the cells.