Measured and predicted performance of a micro-thermophotovoltaic device with a heat-recirculating micro-emitter

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A new configuration of a 1-10 W micro-thermophotovoltaic (micro-TPV) device with a heat-recirculating micro-emitter is studied experimentally and computationally. In the micro-TPV device thermal energy is directly converted into electrical energy through thermal radiation without any moving parts. In order to satisfy the primary requirements for designing a micro-emitter as a thermal heat source, i.e., stable burning in a small confinement and uniform distribution of temperature along a wall, the present micro-emitter is a simple cylinder with an annular-type shield to apply for a heat-recirculation concept. The micro-emitter is surrounded with a chamber on the inner wall of which photovoltaic cells (PVCs) are supposed to be installed. The micro-emitter materials substantially affect the radiation performance of the micro-emitter. The enhanced vacuumity of the PVC-installed chamber does not substantially affect the micro-TPV device performance. The gap between the micro-emitter and PVC-installed chamber walls also affects the micro-TPV device performance. For optimized design conditions, a pre-mixed micro-flame is easily stabilized in the micro-emitter and heat generated in the micro-emitter is uniformly emitted, providing reasonable overall system efficiencies. Thus, the present micro-TPV device configuration can be used in practical applications, avoiding frictional losses and clearance problems.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: Technical Proceedings of the 2009 Clean Technology Conference and Trade Show
Published: May 3, 2009
Pages: 72 - 75
Industry sector: Energy & Sustainability
Topic: Solar Technologies
ISBN: 978-1-4398-1787-2