Thermoelectric Power Platform for In-Situ Monitoring of Nuclear Spent Fuel Storage

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-13ER90706
Agency Tracking Number: 77117
Amount: $224,757.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2013
Solicitation Year: 2013
Solicitation Topic Code: 20b
Solicitation Number: DE-FOA-0000801
Small Business Information
MA, Watertown, MA, 02472-4699
DUNS: 073804411
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Kanai Shah
 (617) 668-6800
Business Contact
 Mary Abud
Title: Ms.
Phone: (617) 668-6800
Research Institution
Dry storage systems are designed to safely confine the used nuclear fuel by providing radiation shielding, heat dissipation and protection of fuel assemblies from outside elements. To avoid dry storage system breach due to material deterioration or other factors, sensors can be sealed inside to monitor internal storage environment. Since direct signal and power connections to the sensors are not desired due to easier breach of the containment system, the goal of the proposed project is to develop an in-situ energy platform to power the sensors and communication devices imbedded within the dry storage system. Our approach to the proposed project is to use a low-to-medium temperature, highly efficient thermoelectric (TE) material such as Bi2Te3, to develop a low profile, conformal TE power supply that can be attached to the inner walls of the storage system. Using the temperature gradient between different containment layers, the TE supply can provide power to sensors throughout the interior of the containment system. Since the waste heat from the spent fuel assemblies can provide a steady temperature gradient inside the storage system for decades to centuries, harvesting such energy is an efficient and feasible way to power internal sensors and devices for the life span of the storage systems. Along with providing a power platform for sensors embedded in nuclear waste storage systems, the proposed energy harvesting technology can be used in small form factor space and military nuclear power systems. Potential benefits also include converting waste heat to extra power for low power consumer applications, such as in portable electronics, high efficiency hybrid and electric automobiles, efficient residential buildings, and smart heating and cooling systems.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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