Novel Nuclear Powered Photocatalytic Energy Conversion

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The University of Massachusetts Lowell Radiation Laboratory (UMLRL) is involved in a comprehensive project to investigate a unique radiation sensing and energy conversion technology with applications for in-situ monitoring of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) during cask transport and storage. The technology makes use of the gamma photons emitted from the SNF as an inherent power source for driving a GPS-class transceiver that has the ability to verify the position and contents of the SNF cask. The power conversion process, which converts the gamma photon energy into electrical power, is based on a variation of the successful dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) ... continued below

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White,John R.; Kinsmen,Douglas; Regan,Thomas M. & Bobek,Leo M. August 29, 2005.

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Description

The University of Massachusetts Lowell Radiation Laboratory (UMLRL) is involved in a comprehensive project to investigate a unique radiation sensing and energy conversion technology with applications for in-situ monitoring of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) during cask transport and storage. The technology makes use of the gamma photons emitted from the SNF as an inherent power source for driving a GPS-class transceiver that has the ability to verify the position and contents of the SNF cask. The power conversion process, which converts the gamma photon energy into electrical power, is based on a variation of the successful dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) design developed by Konarka Technologies, Inc. (KTI). In particular, the focus of the current research is to make direct use of the high-energy gamma photons emitted from SNF, coupled with a scintillator material to convert some of the incident gamma photons into photons having wavelengths within the visible region of the electromagnetic spectrum. The high-energy gammas from the SNF will generate some power directly via Compton scattering and the photoelectric effect, and the generated visible photons output from the scintillator material can also be converted to electrical power in a manner similar to that of a standard solar cell. Upon successful implementation of an energy conversion device based on this new gammavoltaic principle, this inherent power source could then be utilized within SNF storage casks to drive a tamper-proof, low-power, electronic detection/security monitoring system for the spent fuel. The current project has addressed several aspects associated with this new energy conversion concept, including the development of a base conceptual design for an inherent gamma-induced power conversion unit for SNF monitoring, the characterization of the radiation environment that can be expected within a typical SNF storage system, the initial evaluation of Konarka's base solar cell design, the design and fabrication of a range of new cell materials and geometries at Konarka's manufacturing facilities, and the irradiation testing and evaluation of these new cell designs within the UML Radiation Laboratory. The primary focus of all this work was to establish the proof of concept of the basic gammavoltaic principle using a new class of dye-sensitized photon converter (DSPC) materials based on KTI's original DSSC design. In achieving this goal, this report clearly establishes the viability of the basic gammavoltaic energy conversion concept, yet it also identifies a set of challenges that must be met for practical implementation of this new technology.

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  • Report No.: DOE/04ID14603-1
  • Grant Number: FG07-04ID14603
  • DOI: 10.2172/850408 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 850408
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc780646

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • August 29, 2005

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Dec. 3, 2015, 9:30 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • June 20, 2016, 6:06 p.m.

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White,John R.; Kinsmen,Douglas; Regan,Thomas M. & Bobek,Leo M. Novel Nuclear Powered Photocatalytic Energy Conversion, report, August 29, 2005; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc780646/: accessed October 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.