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Title: Superconducting thermoelectric generator

An apparatus and method for producing electricity from heat. The present invention is a thermoelectric generator that uses materials with substantially no electrical resistance, often called superconductors, to efficiently convert heat into electrical energy without resistive losses. Preferably, an array of superconducting elements is encased within a second material with a high thermal conductivity. The second material is preferably a semiconductor. Alternatively, the superconducting material can be doped on a base semiconducting material, or the superconducting material and the semiconducting material can exist as alternating, interleaved layers of waferlike materials. A temperature gradient imposed across the boundary of the two materials establishes an electrical potential related to the magnitude of the temperature gradient. The superconducting material carries the resulting electrical current at zero resistivity, thereby eliminating resistive losses. The elimination of resistive losses significantly increases the conversion efficiency of the thermoelectric device.
Inventors:
;
Issue Date:
OSTI Identifier:
663329
Assignee:
US Dept. of Energy, Washington, DC (United States) SRS; SCA: 300301; PA: EDB-98:113493; SN: 98002018408
Patent Number(s):
PATENTS-US-A8732945
Application Number:
ON: DE98007411; PAN: 8-732,945; TRN: AHC29818%%166
Contract Number:
AC09-89SR18035
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 1996
Research Org:
Westinghouse Savannah River Co., Aiken, SC (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
30 DIRECT ENERGY CONVERSION; THERMOELECTRIC GENERATORS; SUPERCONDUCTORS; SEMICONDUCTOR MATERIALS; THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY; DESIGN; SUPERCONDUCTING DEVICES; NESDPS Office of Nuclear Energy Space and Defense Power Systems