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Title: Heat to electricity conversion by cold carrier emissive energy harvesters

This paper suggests a method to convert heat to electricity by the use of devices called cold carrier emissive energy harvesters (cold carrier EEHs). The working principle of such converters is explained and theoretical power densities and efficiencies are calculated for ideal devices. Cold carrier EEHs are based on the same device structure as hot carrier solar cells, but works in an opposite way. Whereas a hot carrier solar cell receives net radiation from the sun and converts some of this radiative heat flow into electricity, a cold carrier EEH sustains a net outflux of radiation to the surroundings while converting some of the energy supplied to it into electricity. It is shown that the most basic type of cold carrier EEHs have the same theoretical efficiency as the ideal emissive energy harvesters described earlier by Byrnes et al. In the present work, it is also shown that if the emission from the cold carrier EEH originates from electron transitions across an energy gap where a difference in the chemical potential of the electrons above and below the energy gap is sustained, power densities slightly higher than those given by Byrnes et al. can be achieved.
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Department of Engineering Sciences, University of Agder, Jon Lilletuns vei 9, 4879 Grimstad (Norway)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22493006
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Journal of Applied Physics; Journal Volume: 118; Journal Issue: 21; Other Information: (c) 2015 AIP Publishing LLC; Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS; CARRIERS; ELECTRICITY; ELECTRONS; ENERGY CONVERSION; ENERGY EFFICIENCY; ENERGY GAP; HEAT; HEAT FLUX; POWER DENSITY; SOLAR CELLS; SOLAR RADIATION