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Title: Superconducting thermoelectric generator

Abstract

Thermoelectricity is produced by applying a temperature differential to dissimilar electrically conducting or semiconducting materials, thereby producing a voltage that is proportional to the temperature difference. Thermoelectric generators use this effect to directly convert heat into electricity; however, presently-known generators have low efficiencies due to the production of high currents which in turn cause large resistive heating losses. Some thermoelectric generators operate at efficiencies between 4% and 7% in the 800{degrees} to 1200{degrees}C range. According to its major aspects and bradly stated, the present invention is an apparatus and method for producing electricity from heat. In particular, the invention is a thermoelectric generator that juxtaposes a superconducting material and a semiconducting material - so that the superconducting and the semiconducting materials touch - to convert heat energy into electrical energy without resistive losses in the temperature range below the critical temperature of the superconducting material. Preferably, an array of superconducting material is encased in one of several possible configurations within a second material having a high thermal conductivity, preferably a semiconductor, to form a thermoelectric generator.

Inventors:
;
Issue Date:
Research Org.:
Savannah River Site (SRS), Aiken, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
444042
Patent Number(s):
8336050
Application Number:
ON: DE97003561; PAN: 8-336,050; TRN: 97:001656
Assignee:
Dept. of Energy
Patent Classifications (CPCs):
G - PHYSICS G06 - COMPUTING G06F - ELECTRIC DIGITAL DATA PROCESSING
DOE Contract Number:  
AC09-89SR18035
Resource Type:
Patent
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 1994
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; THERMOELECTRIC GENERATORS; DESIGN; SEMICONDUCTOR MATERIALS; HIGH-TC SUPERCONDUCTORS; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems

Citation Formats

Metzger, J D, and El-Genk, M S. Superconducting thermoelectric generator. United States: N. p., 1994. Web.
Metzger, J D, & El-Genk, M S. Superconducting thermoelectric generator. United States.
Metzger, J D, and El-Genk, M S. Sat . "Superconducting thermoelectric generator". United States. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/444042.
@article{osti_444042,
title = {Superconducting thermoelectric generator},
author = {Metzger, J D and El-Genk, M S},
abstractNote = {Thermoelectricity is produced by applying a temperature differential to dissimilar electrically conducting or semiconducting materials, thereby producing a voltage that is proportional to the temperature difference. Thermoelectric generators use this effect to directly convert heat into electricity; however, presently-known generators have low efficiencies due to the production of high currents which in turn cause large resistive heating losses. Some thermoelectric generators operate at efficiencies between 4% and 7% in the 800{degrees} to 1200{degrees}C range. According to its major aspects and bradly stated, the present invention is an apparatus and method for producing electricity from heat. In particular, the invention is a thermoelectric generator that juxtaposes a superconducting material and a semiconducting material - so that the superconducting and the semiconducting materials touch - to convert heat energy into electrical energy without resistive losses in the temperature range below the critical temperature of the superconducting material. Preferably, an array of superconducting material is encased in one of several possible configurations within a second material having a high thermal conductivity, preferably a semiconductor, to form a thermoelectric generator.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {1994},
month = {1}
}