Emissivity Tuned Emitter for RTPV Power Sources

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Description

Every mission launched by NASA to the outer planets has produced unexpected results. The Voyager I and II, Galileo, and Cassini missions produced images and collected scientific data that totally revolutionized our understanding of the solar system and the formation of the planetary systems. These missions were enabled by the use of nuclear power. Because of the distances from the Sun, electrical power was produced using the radioactive decay of a plutonium isotope. Radioisotopic Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) used in the past and currently used Multi-Mission RTGs (MMRTGs) provide power for space missions. Unfortunately, RTGs rely on thermocouples to convert heat ... continued below

Creation Information

Stoots, Carl M.; O'Brien, Robert C. & Howe, Troy M. March 1, 2012.

Context

This article is part of the collection entitled: Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports and was provided by UNT Libraries Government Documents Department to Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More information about this article can be viewed below.

Who

People and organizations associated with either the creation of this article or its content.

Publisher

Provided By

UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Serving as both a federal and a state depository library, the UNT Libraries Government Documents Department maintains millions of items in a variety of formats. The department is a member of the FDLP Content Partnerships Program and an Affiliated Archive of the National Archives.

Contact Us

What

Descriptive information to help identify this article. Follow the links below to find similar items on the Digital Library.

Description

Every mission launched by NASA to the outer planets has produced unexpected results. The Voyager I and II, Galileo, and Cassini missions produced images and collected scientific data that totally revolutionized our understanding of the solar system and the formation of the planetary systems. These missions were enabled by the use of nuclear power. Because of the distances from the Sun, electrical power was produced using the radioactive decay of a plutonium isotope. Radioisotopic Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) used in the past and currently used Multi-Mission RTGs (MMRTGs) provide power for space missions. Unfortunately, RTGs rely on thermocouples to convert heat to electricity and are inherently inefficient ({approx} 3-7% thermal to electric efficiency). A Radioisotope Thermal Photovoltaic (RTPV) power source has the potential to reduce the specific mass of the onboard power supply by increasing the efficiency of thermal to electric conversion. In an RTPV, a radioisotope heats an emitter, which emits light to a photovoltaic (PV) cell, which converts the light into electricity. Developing an emitter tuned to the desired wavelength of the photovoltaic is a key part in increasing overall performance. Researchers at the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) have built a Thermal Photovoltaic (TPV) system, that utilizes a simulated General Purpose Heat Source (GPHS) from a MMRTG to heat a tantalum emitter. The GPHS is a block of graphite roughly 10 cm by 10 cm by 5 cm. A fully loaded GPHS produces 250 w of thermal power and weighs 1.6 kgs. The GRC system relies on the GPHS unit radiating at 1200 K to a tantalum emitter that, in turn, radiates light to a GaInAs photo-voltaic cell. The GRC claims system efficiency of conversion of 15%. The specific mass is around 167 kg/kWe. A RTPV power source that utilized a ceramic or ceramic-metal (cermet) matrix would allow for the combination of the heat source, canister, and emitter into one compact unit, and allow variation in size and shape to optimize temperature and emission spectra.

Source

  • Nuclear and Emerging Technologies for Space,The Woodlands, TX,03/21/2012,03/23/2012

Language

Item Type

Identifier

Unique identifying numbers for this article in the Digital Library or other systems.

  • Report No.: INL/CON-11-24023
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1047203
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc841836

Collections

This article is part of the following collection of related materials.

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.

What responsibilities do I have when using this article?

When

Dates and time periods associated with this article.

Creation Date

  • March 1, 2012

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 9:45 a.m.

Description Last Updated

  • June 20, 2016, 1:54 p.m.

Usage Statistics

When was this article last used?

Yesterday: 0
Past 30 days: 0
Total Uses: 2

Interact With This Article

Here are some suggestions for what to do next.

Start Reading

PDF Version Also Available for Download.

Citations, Rights, Re-Use

Stoots, Carl M.; O'Brien, Robert C. & Howe, Troy M. Emissivity Tuned Emitter for RTPV Power Sources, article, March 1, 2012; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc841836/: accessed October 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.