Toward High-Energy-Density, High-Efficiency, and Moderate-Temperature Chip-Scale Thermophotovoltaics
ILLINOIS UNIV AT URBANA DEPT OF ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING
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The challenging problem of ultra-high-energy-density, high-efficiency, and small-scale portable power generation is addressed here using a distinctive thermophotovoltaic energy conversion mechanism and chip-based system design, which we name the microthermophotovoltaic TPV generator. The approach is predicted to be capable of up to 32 efficient heat-to-electricity conversion within a millimeter-scale form factor. Although considerable technological barriers need to be overcome to reach full performance, we have performed a robust experimental demonstration that validates the theoretical framework and the key system components. Even with a much-simplified TPV system design with theoretical efficiency prediction of 2.7, we experimentally demonstrate 2.5 efficiency. The TPV experimental system that was built and tested comprises a silicon propane microcombustor, an integrated high-temperature photonic crystal selective thermal emitter, four 0.55-eV GaInAsSb thermophotovoltaic diodes, and an ultrahigh- efficiency maximum power-point tracking power electronics converter. The system was demonstrated to operate up to 800 C silicon microcombustor temperaturewith an input thermal power of 13.7W, generating 344 mW of electric power over a 1-cmexpn 2 area.
- Electrooptical and Optoelectronic Devices