Dr. Majed Khodr Presents Research into Storing Excess Solar Power Output

February 26, 2020,

Dr. Majed Khodr, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering in the Department of Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering, at the American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK), presented his research into Efficiency Evaluations of Dual Junction IV-VI semiconductor thermophotovoltaic cells in a faculty research colloquium.

Solar Photovoltaic Systems Offer the Lowest Cost Electrical Power, however without low-cost energy storage, solar PV will penetrate only about 15% of total grid power. Dr. Khodr demonstrated in his seminar the possibility of solving this problem by proper storing the excess solar power output as thermal heat in molted silicon at 1400 C, then converting it back when needed to electrical power that can be channeled through the electrical grid as needed.

His work focused on engineering thermophotovoltaic (TPV) devices. These are semiconductor diodes that can convert the stored energy in the molted silicon into electricity.  In his seminar, he showed that special narrow band gap semiconductor materials can be engineered and fabricated in multiple quantum well (MQW) nano structures to form multi-junction TPV cells.  The dual junction TPV cell that Dr. Khodr explained was shown to achieve optimal performance for TPV power generation with an overall maximum electric power density and efficiency values of 7.1 W/cm2 and 25%.  Simply put, a dual junction TPV cell can generate about 70 kW/m2 in a molten silicon thermal energy grid storage (TEGS) system. Which means less than 144 m2 needed for a 1 GW TEGS power plant. Future improvements to the output power density and efficiency were suggested to design triple junction TPV cells.

Dr. Khodr holds BSc and MSc degrees in Physics from Kuwait University and an MS and a Ph.D. in Electronics and Communications Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He worked for international companies including Halliburton and Motorola before returning to the Middle East. Since 2001, he has worked in several universities in the region, established and developed several higher education engineering departments, and co-hosted a weekly health TV program for 10 years discussing recent innovations in medical and wellness technologies. 

As an affiliated professor with University of Oklahoma, he is collaborating with Professor Patrick McCann on developing TPV devices for industrial and consumer applications, and on designing laser-based sensors for detecting cancer using exhaled breath based on quantum well design principles.