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Title: Modeling a thermionic energy converter using finite-difference time-domain particle-in-cell simulations

A thermionic energy converter (TEC) is a static device that converts heat directly into electricity by boiling electrons off a hot emitter surface across a small inter-electrode gap to a cooler collector surface. The main challenge in TECs is overcoming the space charge limit, which limits the current transmitted across a gap of a given voltage and width. We have verified the feasibility of studying and developing a TEC using a bounded finite-difference time-domain particle-in-cell plasma simulation code, OOPD1, developed by Plasma Theory and Simulation Group, formerly at UC Berkeley and now at Michigan State University. In this preliminary work, a TEC has been modeled kinetically using OOPD1, and the accuracy has been verified by comparing with an analytically solvable case, giving good agreement. With further improvement of the code, one will be able to quickly and cheaply analyze space charge effects, and seek designs that mitigate the space charge effect, allowing TECs to become more efficient and cost-effective.
Authors:
;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [4] ;  [2] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [4]
  1. Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Central University, Jhongli City, Taoyuan County 32001, Taiwan (China)
  2. NanoScience Simulation Laboratory, Fu Jen Catholic University, Xinzhuang Dist., New Taipei City 24205, Taiwan (China)
  3. Applied Science and Technology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720 (United States)
  4. (United States)
  5. Plasma Theory and Simulation Group, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22252038
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Physics of Plasmas; Journal Volume: 21; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: (c) 2014 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
70 PLASMA PHYSICS AND FUSION TECHNOLOGY; ACCURACY; DESIGN; ELECTRIC POTENTIAL; ELECTRICITY; ELECTRODES; ELECTRONS; EQUIPMENT; HEAT EXCHANGERS; PLASMA; PLASMA SIMULATION; SPACE CHARGE; SURFACES