Thermoelectric Scalable Power Generator
Navy SBIR 2011.1 - Topic N111-060
NAVSEA - Mr. Dean Putnam - firstname.lastname@example.org
Opens: December 13, 2010 - Closes: January 12, 2011
N111-060 TITLE: Thermoelectric Scalable Power Generator
TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Ground/Sea Vehicles, Electronics, Weapons
RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN CITIZENS (i.e., those holding non-U.S. Passports): This topic is "ITAR Restricted." The information and materials provided pursuant to or resulting from this topic are restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 - 130, which control the export of defense-related material and services, including the export of sensitive technical data. Foreign Citizens may perform work under an award resulting from this topic only if they hold the "Permanent Resident Card", or are designated as "Protected Individuals" as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). If a proposal for this topic contains participation by a foreign citizen who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal will be rejected.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this work is to develop and demonstrate a standalone Thermoelectric Scalable Power Generator using Thermoelectric technology for use in military weapon systems
DESCRIPTION: A small size, light weight, scalable and portable power generator is always needed in military weapon systems. The Thermoelectric Scalable Power Generator (TSPG) is a power generator that converts heat to electrical power in such a way that it is quite different than conventional power sources such as battery or commercially available power generators. This topic calls for an innovative way to generate power using thermoelectric technology. The TSPG is a generator that needs a heat source on one side of thermoelectric modules and a cooling system on the other side. For a standalone TSPG, logistic fuels can be burned to provide the heat to the generator and these fuels can be JP-4, JP-5, JP-7or JP-8. These fuels provide heat to the generator through a combustion process. The cold side of thermoelectric modules can be cooled by air or liquid. The mentioned heat source will make the thermoelectric power generator becomes portable and can be scalable to meet the needs of warfighters at any locations on the shipboard where power is needed. However, the heat provided by these fuels is normally at high temperature close to about 1000oC and it could pose a problem for thermoelectric materials. Therefore, the thermoelectric materials need to satisfy two conditions: high temperature operation and high conversion efficiency. These two conditions translate to a high temperature thermoelectric materials and high ZT thermoelectric materials respectively. This proposal calls for a new nanostructure thermoelectric material that has a ZT higher than 1.5 and it should be able to handle a minimum of 500oC continuously. The thermoelectric power generator should be designed to generate a minimum of 300 Watts power output and should be completed with a combustion control system, cooling system with an advanced heat exchanger design and a power management system that includes a DC/DC converter to convert generated power to 12VDC and 24VDC as needed for interfacing with other devices. The generator should be designed for a total weight of less than 8 Lbs and for signatures proof of heat, noise, vibration, RF and smoke etc. The generator should also be designed such that it is rugged and can be used safely by warfighters as a scalable power source at any locations on the shipboard or on land.
In summary, the TSPG has to be designed to operate satisfactorily based on the following requirements:
PHASE I: The objective of Phase I is to allow the contractor to determine technical feasibility of the work based on current thermoelectric technology, which is showing many progress in high efficient materials development. Phase I will also include development of technical approaches and design concept for solving the problem. A modeling and simulation effort might be needed in Phase I to prove the design concept. A technical report is required at the end of phase I, in which all the progress as well as difficulties in meeting the objective have to be included for GO or No Go decision.
PHASE II: Phase II effort should include a prototype development and performance validation.
PHASE III: The expected transition can be carried out to surface ship weapon systems as well as other systems that require continuous power with all the advantages of thermoelectric technology. The accomplishment from Phase I&II will help in determining the transition.
PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: Another use of the results from this effort is in waste heat recovery application for vehicles where the waste heat can be converted to electrical power by using the high temperature and high ZT thermoelectric materials to assist the internal combustion engine, thus improve the engine efficiency.
3) Harman et al. J. Electron. Materials 234, L19 (2005)
4) Rowe, D.M. Thermoelectrics Handbook: Macro to Nano. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press (2005)
KEYWORDS: Thermoelectric Scalable Power Generator, High ZT thermoelectric materials, Portable Power Generator, Heat Source, Advanced Heat Exchanger, Nanostructure Thermoelectric Materials.