Direct Thermal to Electric Energy Converter
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
A great and pervasive need exists for new, innovative concepts for the generation of electric power in earth orbit. All US spacecraft rely on solar cells for their primary power source. The most advanced solar cells under development are at most 40%efficient. A novel technique with higher efficiency is needed to enhance mission capabilities. That novel concept is thermionic emission from microtip arrays. It is anticipated that efficiencies as high as 60% are achievable with current densitiesgreater than 10 amps per square centimeter. This program will further develop and refine the geometry, and band/field structure of diamond microtip arrays to maximize durability, efficiency, and capacity. The goal of this program is to develop compactefficient energy conversion devices for space and ground based applications. The Phase I program will demonstrate the feasibility of this technology by a combination of lab measurements and analysis.In addition to providing an efficient power source forgovernment and commercial satellites, efficient direct thermoelectric conversion will support many electrical generation systems including nuclear and fossil fuel power plants. The increased efficiency will allow the more economical use of renewableenergy sources such as solar and geothermal. The broad temperature operating range of this technology will support many applications.
Small Business Information at Submission:
3394 Carmel Mountain Road San Diego, CA 92121
Number of Employees: