This design concept provides a key component of a solar concentrated combined heat and power (CHP) system for saving primary energy consumption in cold climate zones. The energy for residential space heating and hot water supply in climate zone 5 in the United States requires a significant amount of primary energy from legacy resources; reaching 4.67 Quads alone in 2013. I will develop a unique wall-mounted system that consists of electric power generation by thermoelectric (TE) and heat generation for heating tap water simultaneously. Approximately 60% of solar energy is collected in hot water and 5% will be generated as power with currently available TE materials (ZT 1.2-1.8). Unlike photovoltaics, the device is designed to maximize the energy production at the lowest sun angle (deep in the winter). By 80x - 300x concentration with Fresnel lens with 0.1 m2 area coverage, approximately 2 cm x 2 cm size generators cell will be designed for a scalability and super lightweight (~1/100) compare to a conventional rooftop solar-thermal collector. The cost in large volume production may be similar to photovoltaic cells. By 5% of penetration, total 0.312 Quads of primary energy equivalent will be saved.
Technical advancement of wall mount is not only for the low angle solar in winter, but the simple mechanism is designed to self-track the solar angle optimally self-aligned by the ambient temperature. Which potentially use a mechanical link with a certain stiffness of spring so that the angle is adjusted depending on the air temperature based on the seasonal peak and covering the daily solar locus. To supply a heavy heat demand in winter, the design should primarily focus on heat generation in winter. Hence the form of solar collector is closer to the wall mount rather than roof top. The design optimization of TE power generator is our expert area. According to the hot water temperature requirement, the thermoelectric modules are specifically designed to obtain the maximum power output with very small amount of the cost for exotic thermoelectric materials. Since the modular design, the commercialization could begin with very small kit for water heater and then the modules are scalable to be held on the building wall as a big array.