Compact Space Power Technology

Period of Performance: 05/20/1994 - 11/20/1994

$70K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Rockford Diamond Technology, Inc.
PO BOX 30675
Columbia, MO 65205
Principal Investigator

Abstract

A conceptual remote power technology which converts the energy emitted from safe radioisotopes to electrical energy which can be used to produce hydrogen with photoelectrochemical conversion without intermediate thermalization of the high-grade ion energy has been developed. The potential efficiency for this process, alone, is 40% nuclear energy to electrical energy. The overall size of the system should remains small (e.g. a Kr85 fluorescence source and photovoltaic generator would produce 5 kW electric in an estimated 50 cm diameter sphere). These efficiencies compare to 7.5% for the Radioisotope Thermionic Generator (RTG) system, used in deep space probes such as Voyager, in which nuclear energy is converted to electrical energy with intermediate thermalization. The key to the process is to first convert the high-grade ion energy to photon energy, which can then be directly converted to electrical energy. We term this new process Photon-Intermediate Direct Energy Conversion (PIDEC).