Radiant Energy Spectrum Converter for Enhanced Thermophotovoltaic Systems
Thermo-photovoltaic (TPV) systems are optical heat engines that convert radiant heat to electricity using a photovoltaic cell. TPV is a highly promising technology that can potentially be used to generate electric power from any high-temperature heat source including concentrated solar radiation, industrial waste heat, heat from radioisotope decay, and fuel combustion systems. However, the performance of TPV systems needs to be improved to achieve widespread commercialization. The objective of this project is to develop a novel class of optical cavities to significantly enhance the efficiency of TPVs. The proposed structure will provide for substantial improvements in TPV technology with a wide variety of applications such as solar thermal cogeneration processes, waste heat recuperation systems, auxiliary power conversion devices, fuel-to-electric-power conversion, self-powered devices, and remote power supplies for off-grid applications. These advances bode well for providing alternative energy sources and conversion methods in support of a global transition to cleaner energy.