Thermoelectrics, photovoltaics and thermal photovoltaics for powering ICT devices and systems

Ferre Llin, L. and Paul, D. (2017) Thermoelectrics, photovoltaics and thermal photovoltaics for powering ICT devices and systems. In: Fagas, G., Gammaitoni, L., Gallagher, J. P. and Paul, D. J. (eds.) ICT - Energy Concepts for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability. InTech: Rijeka, pp. 215-237. ISBN 9789535130116 (doi:10.5772/65983)

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The conversion of heat into electricity through the thermoelectric effect and light into electricity through photovoltaic solar cells both allow useful amounts of power for a range of ICT systems from a few milli-Watts (mW) for autonomous sensors up to kiloWatts (kW) for complete ICT computing or entertainment systems. Photovoltaics at the large scale can also be used to produce MW power stations suitable for the sustainable powering of high-performance computing (HPC) and dataservers for cloud computing. This chapter provides a background to the physics of operation of both types of sustainable energy sources along with the fundamental limits of both technologies. The present performance is presented along with promising research directions to allow for a comparison of the useful power along with the limits for deployment of each approach to power ICT devices and systems. Finally, the developing field of thermal photovoltaics is reviewed, where the overall thermodynamic conversion efficiency of turning light into electricity and useful heat can be increased through the addition of thermoelectrics or heat transfer modules to a photovoltaic cell.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ferre Llin, Dr Lourdes and Paul, Professor Douglas
Authors: Ferre Llin, L., and Paul, D.
Subjects:T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering
Research Group:Semiconductor Devices

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
629561ICT-EnergyDouglas PaulEuropean Commission (EC)611004ENG - ENGINEERING ELECTRONICS & NANO ENG