PV Applications

Beta-voltaic

Beta-voltaic (BV) batteries are used for critical applications where electrochemical batteries have severe limitations. They are well suited for long-life applications with low power requirements. For example, BV devices have been applied to space missions and to power pacemakers. Recent developments in sensors, electronic devices and medical implants significantly expand the possibilities for BV usage. However, common BV devices suffer from low efficiency and fast degradation in their electrical performance, preventing them from reaching their full potential.
In this project, we are developing novel high efficiency, stable and cheap BV devices.

Modelling of the electron interaction within a semiconductor using GEANT4.

Agriculture Photovoltaics 

The concept of combining photovoltaics (PV) with agriculture (agrivoltaics or APV) is being explored across the globe and has established field trials in countries including, but not limited to, Germany, Vietnam, Italy, France, Japan and Chile. An agrivoltaic system involves positioning solar panels directly above or near active agricultural land to provide some form of shading to the crops and to generate electricity from the solar array. The value of this concept is seen when considering the abundance of land that becomes available to the PV market if that land can be shared with the agricultural sector. 

At first glance the concept of shading plants seems counterintuitive to the perception that cropland should be without obstructions. However, agrivoltaics recognises that crops do not require every hour of sunlight to photosynthesise. Consequently, the solar energy resource can effectively be shared with photovoltaic technology to increase the productivity of the land without affecting the yield of the crop, and in some cases, even increasing crop yield. This is achieved by spacing the rows of solar panels in such a way that the shadows caused by the panels still permit crops to photosynthesise sufficiently while simultaneously reducing heat related stress caused by the environment.  

In this project we are developing modelling tools for agrivoltaic systems. We also use a small garden to test some of the concepts in the Australian landscape. 

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