High-Temperature, Metallic Alloy, Stabilized, Radiative Emitters for Thermophotovoltaic Power Sources

Period of Performance: 07/01/2013 - 04/30/2014

$80K

Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Creare, Inc.
16 Great Hollow Road Array
Hanover, NH 03755
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts ave
Cambridge, MA 02139
Institution POC

Abstract

Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) power systems offer an attractive approach for compact, simple, and reliable energy conversion needed in applications such as portable power systems and unmanned aerial vehicles. A key challenge with TPV energy systems is achieving a high-energy conversion efficiency, and one of the critical aspects of the energy conversion process is creating spectral emissions from the high-temperature emitter that are well matched with the bandgap of the photovoltaic cells. On this project, Creare and our research institution partners at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will further the development of metallic photonic crystal emitter technology that can provide thermal emissions specifically tailored to a given photovoltaic cell and a given emitter operating temperature. These engineered metamaterials will enable significant improvements in overall system efficiency. In Phase I, we will we will identify the best substrate material for the emitter, develop improved photonic crystal designs for these substrates at a range of operating temperatures, and fabricate a sample photonic crystal. The performance of this sample will be fully characterized in a laboratory TPV facility. We will also develop a preliminary system design and optimize the photovoltaic cell specifications, both of which are necessary emitter design inputs.