TPV Applications

Besides the development of new PV cell and emitter technology, the many applications for TPV energy conversion are also a driving force in the resurgence of TPV interest. The simplicity and potential high efficiency of TPV conversion are the two attractive features that lead to many potential applications. Since TPV is a direct energy conversion process, the only moving parts in the system are fans or pumps that may be used for cooling the PV cells. The components of the system are the thermal source, the emitter (and possibly a filter), the PV cells, and the waste heat rejection system. Each of these components is in the solid state with only the PV cells and possibly the filter being a somewhat complex solid state device...

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The opening chapter defines the thermophotovoltaic (TPV) energy conversion process, presents a short history of TPV research with possible TPV applications and introduces several concepts from electromagnetic wave propagation and radiation transfer theory. These concepts will be used throughout the text.

1.1 Symbols

A surface area, m2

a absorption coefficient, cm-1

B magnetic induction, Weber/m2

c speed of light in material other than a vacuum, m/sec

co speed of light in a vacuum (2.9979 x 108 m/sec)

D electric displacement, Coul/m2

E photon energy, J or electric field, V/m e spectral emissive power, W/m2/|im

eT total emissive power, W/m2

Fo-^T fraction of total blackbody intensity or emissive power lying in region 0 – XT

H magnetic field, Amp/m

h Plank’s constant (6.6262 x 10-34 J. sec)

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Although energy conversion is a technology that is vital for modern life, few textbooks have been written on the fundamentals of the various energy conversion systems. Thermophotovoltaics (TPV) is a simple energy conversion concept well suited for description in a fundamental text. TPV is a static conversion system with no moving parts and only three major parts: an emitter heated by a thermal energy source, and optical cavity for spectral control, and a photovoltaic (PV) array for converting the emitted radiation to electricity.

The book has been written as a text rather than as a review of current TPV research. However, there is some mention of that research.

Most of the material is introduced at the level where physics becomes engineering...

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