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Title: Advanced Thermophotovoltaic Devices for Space Nuclear Power Systems

Abstract

Advanced thermophotovoltaic (TPV) modules capable of producing > 0.3 W/cm2 at an efficiency > 22% while operating at a converter radiator and module temperature of 1228 K and 325 K, respectively, have been made. These advanced TPV modules are projected to produce > 0.9 W/cm2 at an efficiency > 24% while operating at a converter radiator and module temperature of 1373 K and 325 K, respectively. Radioisotope and nuclear (fission) powered space systems utilizing these advanced TPV modules have been evaluated. For a 100 We radioisotope TPV system, systems utilizing as low as 2 general purpose heat source (GPHS) units are feasible, where the specific power for the 2 and 3 GPHS unit systems operating in a 200 K environment is as large as {approx} 16 We/kg and {approx} 14 We/kg, respectively. For a 100 kWe nuclear powered (as was entertained for the thermoelectric SP-100 program) TPV system, the minimum system radiator area and mass is {approx} 640 m2 and {approx} 1150 kg, respectively, for a converter radiator, system radiator and environment temperature of 1373 K, 435 K and 200 K, respectively. Also, for a converter radiator temperature of 1373 K, the converter volume and mass remains less than 0.36more » m3 and 640 kg, respectively. Thus, the minimum system radiator + converter (reactor and shield not included) specific mass is {approx} 16 kg/kWe for a converter radiator, system radiator and environment temperature of 1373 K, 425 K and 200 K, respectively. Under this operating condition, the reactor thermal rating is {approx} 1110 kWt. Due to the large radiator area, the added complexity and mission risk needs to be weighed against reducing the reactor thermal rating to determine the feasibility of using TPV for space nuclear (fission) power systems.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ;  [1]; ;  [2]; ;  [3];  [4];  [5]
  1. Bechtel Bettis, Inc., West Mifflin, PA 15122 (United States)
  2. Lockheed Martin Corp., Schenectady, NY 12301 (United States)
  3. EMCORE Photovoltaics, Albuquerque, NM 87123 (United States)
  4. Bandwidth Semiconductor, LLC, Hudson, NH 03051 (United States)
  5. Rugate Technologies, Inc., Oxford, CT 06804 (United Kingdom)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
20630571
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: AIP Conference Proceedings; Journal Volume: 746; Journal Issue: 1; Conference: STAIF 2005: Conference on thermophysics in microgravity; Conference on commercial/civil next generation space transportation; 22. symposium on space nuclear power and propulsion; Conference on human/robotic technology and the national vision for space exploration; 3. symposium on space colonization; 2. symposium on new frontiers and future concepts, Albuquerque, NM (United States), 13-17 Feb 2005; Other Information: DOI: 10.1063/1.1867275; (c) 2005 American Institute of Physics; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
21 SPECIFIC NUCLEAR REACTORS AND ASSOCIATED PLANTS; EFFICIENCY; FEASIBILITY STUDIES; HEAT EXCHANGERS; HEAT SOURCES; PHOTOVOLTAIC CONVERSION; RADIATORS; RISK ASSESSMENT; SHIELDS; SPACE PROPULSION REACTORS; THERMOELECTRIC CONVERSION; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems

Citation Formats

Wernsman, Bernard, Mahorter, Robert G., Siergiej, Richard, Link, Samuel D., Wehrer, Rebecca J., Belanger, Sean J., Fourspring, Patrick, Murray, Susan, Newman, Fred, Taylor, Dan, and Rahmlow, Tom. Advanced Thermophotovoltaic Devices for Space Nuclear Power Systems. United States: N. p., 2005. Web. doi:10.1063/1.1867275.
Wernsman, Bernard, Mahorter, Robert G., Siergiej, Richard, Link, Samuel D., Wehrer, Rebecca J., Belanger, Sean J., Fourspring, Patrick, Murray, Susan, Newman, Fred, Taylor, Dan, & Rahmlow, Tom. Advanced Thermophotovoltaic Devices for Space Nuclear Power Systems. United States. doi:10.1063/1.1867275.
Wernsman, Bernard, Mahorter, Robert G., Siergiej, Richard, Link, Samuel D., Wehrer, Rebecca J., Belanger, Sean J., Fourspring, Patrick, Murray, Susan, Newman, Fred, Taylor, Dan, and Rahmlow, Tom. Sun . "Advanced Thermophotovoltaic Devices for Space Nuclear Power Systems". United States. doi:10.1063/1.1867275.
@article{osti_20630571,
title = {Advanced Thermophotovoltaic Devices for Space Nuclear Power Systems},
author = {Wernsman, Bernard and Mahorter, Robert G. and Siergiej, Richard and Link, Samuel D. and Wehrer, Rebecca J. and Belanger, Sean J. and Fourspring, Patrick and Murray, Susan and Newman, Fred and Taylor, Dan and Rahmlow, Tom},
abstractNote = {Advanced thermophotovoltaic (TPV) modules capable of producing > 0.3 W/cm2 at an efficiency > 22% while operating at a converter radiator and module temperature of 1228 K and 325 K, respectively, have been made. These advanced TPV modules are projected to produce > 0.9 W/cm2 at an efficiency > 24% while operating at a converter radiator and module temperature of 1373 K and 325 K, respectively. Radioisotope and nuclear (fission) powered space systems utilizing these advanced TPV modules have been evaluated. For a 100 We radioisotope TPV system, systems utilizing as low as 2 general purpose heat source (GPHS) units are feasible, where the specific power for the 2 and 3 GPHS unit systems operating in a 200 K environment is as large as {approx} 16 We/kg and {approx} 14 We/kg, respectively. For a 100 kWe nuclear powered (as was entertained for the thermoelectric SP-100 program) TPV system, the minimum system radiator area and mass is {approx} 640 m2 and {approx} 1150 kg, respectively, for a converter radiator, system radiator and environment temperature of 1373 K, 435 K and 200 K, respectively. Also, for a converter radiator temperature of 1373 K, the converter volume and mass remains less than 0.36 m3 and 640 kg, respectively. Thus, the minimum system radiator + converter (reactor and shield not included) specific mass is {approx} 16 kg/kWe for a converter radiator, system radiator and environment temperature of 1373 K, 425 K and 200 K, respectively. Under this operating condition, the reactor thermal rating is {approx} 1110 kWt. Due to the large radiator area, the added complexity and mission risk needs to be weighed against reducing the reactor thermal rating to determine the feasibility of using TPV for space nuclear (fission) power systems.},
doi = {10.1063/1.1867275},
journal = {AIP Conference Proceedings},
number = 1,
volume = 746,
place = {United States},
year = {Sun Feb 06 00:00:00 EST 2005},
month = {Sun Feb 06 00:00:00 EST 2005}
}
  • Nuclear transport power systems (NTPS) can provide solving such important science, commerce and defense tasks in space as radar surveillance, information affording, global ecological monitoring, defense of Earth from dangerous space objects, manufacturing in space, investigations of asteroids, comets and solar systems{close_quote} planets (Kuzin {ital et} {ital al}. 1993a, 1993b). The creation of NTPS for real space systems, however, must be based on proved NTPS effectiveness in comparison with other power and propulsion systems such as, nonnuclear electric-rocket systems and so on. When the NTPS effectiveness is proved, the operation safety of such systems must be suited to the UNmore » requirements for all stages of the life cycle in view of possible failures. A nuclear transport power module provides both a large amount of thermal and electrical power and a long acting time (about 6{endash}7 years after completing the delivery task). For this reason such module is featured with the high power supplying-mass delivery effectiveness and the considerable increasing of the total effectiveness of a spacecraft with the module. In the report, the such NTPS three types, namely the system on the base of thermionic reactor-converter with electric rocket propulsion system (ERPS), the dual mode thermionic nuclear power system with pumping of working fluid through the active reactor zone, and the system on the base of the nuclear thermal rocket engine technology is compared with the transport power modules on the base of solar power system from the point of view of providing the highest degree of the effectiveness. {copyright} {ital 1996 American Institute of Physics.}« less
  • The trend in space exploration is to use many small, low-cost, special-purpose satellites instead of the large, high-cost, multipurpose satellites used in the past. As a result of this new trend, there is a need for lightweight, efficient, and compact radioisotope fueled electrical power generators. This paper presents an improved design for a radioisotope thermophotovoltaic (RTPV) space power system in the 10 W to 20 W class which promises up to 37.6 watts at 30.1{percent} efficiency and 25 W/kg specific power. The RTPV power system concept has been studied and compared to radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTG) radioisotope, Stirling generators andmore » alkali metal thermal electric conversion (AMTEC) generators (Schock, 1995). The studies indicate that RTPV has the potential to be the lightest weight, most efficient and most reliable of the three concepts. However, in spite of the efficiency and light weight, the size of the thermal radiator required to eliminate excess heat from the PV cells and the lack of actual system operational performance data are perceived as obstacles to RTPV acceptance for space applications. Between 1994 and 1997 EDTEK optimized the key converter components for an RTPV generator under Department of Energy (DOE) funding administered via subcontracts to Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) and EG&G Mound Applied Technologies Laboratory (Horne, 1995). The optimized components included a resonant micromesh infrared bandpass filter, low-bandgap GaSb PV cells and cell arrays. Parametric data from these components were supplied to OSC who developed and analyzed the performance of 100 W, 20 W, and 10 W RTPV generators. These designs are described in references (Schock 1994, 1995 and 1996). Since the performance of each class of supply was roughly equivalent and simply scaled with size, this paper will consider the OSC 20 W design as a baseline. The baseline 20-W RTPV design was developed by Schock, et al of OSC and has been presented elsewhere. The baseline design, centered around components and measured parametric data developed by EDTEK, Inc., promised an overall thermal-to-electric system output of 23 W at a conversion efficiency of 19{percent}, 1.92 kg system weight, and a specific power of 13.3 W/kg. The improved design reported herein promises up to 37.6 W at 30.1{percent} efficiency, 1.5 kg system weight, up to 25 W/kg specific power, a six-fold reduction in thermal radiator size over the baseline design, as well as a lower isotope temperature for greater safety. The six-fold reduction in thermal radiator size removes one of the greatest obstacles to applying RTPV in space missions. {copyright} {ital 1998 American Institute of Physics.}« less
  • The aim of this work is the proposal and the analysis of advanced solar dynamic space power systems for electrical space power generation. The detailed thermodynamic analysis of SDCC (Solar Dynamic Combined Cycle) and SDBC (Solar Dynamic Binary Cycle) systems is carried out. The analysis is completed with an optimization procedure that allows the maximum efficiency and minimum surface conditions to be obtained. The calculation is carried out for the orbital conditions of the NASA-Freedom Space Station. The results are presented, compared with the data already published for a reference CBC (Closed Brayton Cycle) plant (Massardo, 1993b), and discussed inmore » depth.« less