Optimal thermionic energy conversion with established electrodes for high-temperature topping and process heating

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Advantages of thermionic energy conversion (TEC) have been counted and are recounted with emphasis on high-temperature service in coal-combustion products. Efficient, economical, nonpolluting utilization of coal here and now is a critically important national goal. And TEC can augment this capability not only by the often proposed topping of steam power plants but also by higher-temperature topping and process heating. For these applications, applied-research-and-technology (ART) work reveals that optimal TEC with approx. 1000-to approx. 1100 K collectors is possible using well-established tungsten electrodes. Such TEC with 1800 K emitters could approach 26.6% efficiency at 27.4 W/cm/sup 2/ with approx. 1000 ... continued below

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Morris, J.F. July 1, 1980.

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Advantages of thermionic energy conversion (TEC) have been counted and are recounted with emphasis on high-temperature service in coal-combustion products. Efficient, economical, nonpolluting utilization of coal here and now is a critically important national goal. And TEC can augment this capability not only by the often proposed topping of steam power plants but also by higher-temperature topping and process heating. For these applications, applied-research-and-technology (ART) work reveals that optimal TEC with approx. 1000-to approx. 1100 K collectors is possible using well-established tungsten electrodes. Such TEC with 1800 K emitters could approach 26.6% efficiency at 27.4 W/cm/sup 2/ with approx. 1000 K collectors and 21.7% at 22.6 W/cm/sup 2/ with approx. 1100 K collectors. These performances require 1.5- and 1.7-eV collector work functions (not the 1-eV ultimate) with nearly negligible interelectrode losses. Such collectors correspond to tungsten electrode systems in approx. 0.9-to approx. 6-torr cesium pressures with 1600-to-1900 K emitters. Because higher heat-rejection temperatures for TEC allow greater collector work functions, interelectrode-loss reduction becomes an increasingly important target for applications aimed at elevated temperatures. Studies of intragap modifications and new electrodes that will allow better electron emission and collection with lower cesium pressures are among the TEC-ART approaches to reduced interelectrode losses. These solutions will provide very effective TEC to serve directly in coal-combustion products for high-temperature topping and process heating. In turn this will help to use coal-and to use it well.

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NTIS, PC A03/MF A01.

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  • Report No.: DOE/NASA/1062-6
  • Report No.: NASA-TM-81555
  • Grant Number: AI01-77ET13111
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 5228027
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc1071601

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

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  • July 1, 1980

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Feb. 4, 2018, 10:51 a.m.

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  • March 20, 2018, 7:48 p.m.

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Morris, J.F. Optimal thermionic energy conversion with established electrodes for high-temperature topping and process heating, report, July 1, 1980; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1071601/: accessed May 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.