Microcombustors coupled with thermoelectric devices have the potential to provide a prolonged power source for portable devices as opposed to conventional batteries due to significantly higher energy densities. Recharging then can be easily achieved by simply adding more fuel for such integrated devices, making them desirable for remote operations. Current research is primarily focused on the design of microreactors to sustain combustion and manage temperature gradients within. Previously, our work has successfully demonstrated room temperature ignition and control over catalytic activity of methanol-air mixtures with platinum nanoparticles. Our current focus, however, is on using our catalytic system to design a microcombustor power source by integrating it with thermoelectric generators. For this work, commercial thermoelectric generators were used to convert the temperature gradient created by catalytic combustion directly to electrical power. Specifically, a planar reactor assembly was designed and tested to optimize temperature gradients and therefore power output. The overall performance of the device, together with the temperature characterization of the device will be presented. Key parameters that influence performance and contribute to the modeling efforts were also identified. This work indicates a potential for a highly miniaturized design for such devices.
Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: Technical Proceedings of the 2014 Clean Technology Conference and Trade Show
Published: June 15, 2014
Pages: 418 - 421
Industry sectors: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing | Energy & Sustainability
Topic: Sustainable Materials