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Prospector VIII: Thermophotovoltaics -- An Update on DoD, Academic, and Commercial Research

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Final rept.

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Thermophotovoltaics is the technology for photoconverting energy to electricity from an incandescent source which can be heated from any heat source. This technology is unique and has great promise for the development of portable power sources for the Dismounted Soldier. Consequenfly, a workshop on Thermophotovoltaics - An Update of DoD, Academic and Commercial Research, was held at the Washington Duke Inn Golf Club, on July 14-17, 1996, sponsored by the Army Research Office. To accomplish the objectives of the workshop, a group of scientists, active in the field, from government laboratories, industry and academia were invited to lecture on a wide range of topics germane to the emerging field of Thermophotovoltaics. The technical program consisted of plenary and state-of-the-art sessions covering as wide a range of relevant topics as the allotted time permitted. Recent advances in the technology associated with Thermophotovoltaics suggest that power systems could be built in the range from a few watts to greater than 500 watts which would impact the requirements for the Dismounted Soldier. As the Army becomes more mobile, a premium is to be paid for capability, reliability and minimal mass systems. Improvements in photovoltaics and emitters, in terms of reliability, size, weight, and energy efficiency might translate immediately into increased capability and, perhaps, reduced cost. For example, a fueled system only has to convert the energy stored in the fuel at an efficiency less than 2 JP - 8 to produce a power supply that is as energetic as existing batteries. Field able technology rarely equals laboratory prototype or theoretical capability. Obstacles sometimes are fundamental and perhaps can be finessed through appropriate RD, innovative techniques, and skillful engineering. This workshop attempted to explore a number of potential applications of Thermophotovoltaics for the military and civil sector.

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  • Electric Power Production and Distribution

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