Radioisotope Thermophotovoltaic Generator Design and Performance Estimates for Terrestrial Applications
Author(s)Chan, Walker R.; Stelmakh, Veronika; Fisher, Peter H; Wang, Xiawa
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This work provides the design methods and performance estimates of the radioisotope thermophotovoltaic system (RTPV) for terrestrial applications. The modeling is based on an experimentally tested prototype using two-dimensional high temperature photonic crystal to realize spectral control. The design efforts focus on the optimization of the system efficiency and contain the heat source number, the size of the energy conversion elements, the insulation configuration, and the heat sink design. An equivalent circuit model was developed for the thermal and electrical performances. Based on a specific output requirement, an optimized heat source number and energy conversion area can be computed for a certain cell type and insulation design. The selection and characterization of the low bandgap thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells applicable to the generator are compared and discussed. The generator’s heat sink design uses extended fins and the performance is estimated based on the external operating conditions. Finally, the work provides a design example of a terrestrial RTPV generator with an output level of ∼40 W electrical power (We) using InGaAsSb cell, reaching an efficiency of 8.26%.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Physics
Proceedings of the 2017 25th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering ICONE25 July 2-6, 2017, Shanghai, China
Wang, Xiawa, Walker Chan, Veronika Stelmakh, and Peter Fisher. “Radioisotope Thermophotovoltaic Generator Design and Performance Estimates for Terrestrial Applications.” 2017 25th International Conference on Nuclear Engineering July 2–6, 2017 Shanghai, China. Volume 3: Nuclear Fuel and Material, Reactor Physics and Transport Theory; Innovative Nuclear Power Plant Design and New Technology Application (July 2, 2017). doi:10.1115/icone25-66607.
Final published version