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  • 1
    American Institute of Physics (AIP)
    Publication Date: 2016-04-07
    Description: A conceptual device for the direct conversion of heat into electricity is presented. This concept hybridizes thermionic (TI) and thermophotovoltaic (TPV) energy conversion in a single thermionic-photovoltaic (TIPV) solid-state device. This device transforms into electricity both the electron and photon fluxes emitted by an incandescent surface. This letter presents an idealized analysis of this device in order to determine its theoretical potential. According to this analysis, the key advantage of this converter, with respect to either TPV or TI, is the higher power density in an extended temperature range. For low temperatures, TIPV performs like TPV due to the negligible electron flux. On the contrary, for high temperatures, TIPV performs like TI due to the great enhancement of the electron flux, which overshadows the photon flux contribution. At the intermediate temperatures, ∼1650 K in the case of this particular study, I show that the power density potential of TIPV converter is twice as great as that of TPV and TI. The greatest impact concerns applications in which the temperature varies in a relatively wide range, for which averaged power density enhancement above 500% is attainable.
    Print ISSN: 0003-6951
    Electronic ISSN: 1077-3118
    Topics: Physics
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