Proposal Title Advancement of Thermionic Energy Conversion Technology for Space and Terrestrial-based Applications
Category Environmental and Energy Technologies
Abstract IOP Technologies was awarded a NASA Phase I STTR to advance its novel, direct thermal-to-electrical energy conversion technology known as thermionic energy conversion (TEC). NASA has continuously seen this technology as ideal for space applications due to its high efficiency. In fact, both NASA and the Soviet Space agencies poured significant resources toward developing TEC in the 1970's-80's with marginal success. Now that NASA is focused on manned missions beyond earth orbit (asteroid, Mars, etc.), their interest in this technology has been significantly renewed. IOP currently has the highest performing TEC approach reported by utilizing diamond electrodes operating in a hydrogen environment. IOP is currently working to advance this TEC approach towards NASA’s desired performance levels. IOP’s subcontracting partner for the Phase I STTR is Vanderbilt University, Dr. William Paxton’s previous institution, primarily due to their familiarity with IOP’s TEC approach. However, IOP believes it must go beyond the proposed Phase I tasks in order to advance to Phase II. IOP seeks funding to assist with this further development. The primary objective of the proposed work is to develop a full TEC prototype for demonstration to NASA and potential investors to exhibit IOP’s ability to translate this technology from lab to reality. The proposed prototype will be the highest performing TEC device to date, thus placing IOP well ahead of competitors. IOP proposes to subcontract with UofL to assist with accomplishing this objective. IOP also proposes to establish a characterization facility in Louisville to enable increased involvement by IOP engineers and expedite development. Finally, IOP proposes a detailed market research study to identify potential customers beyond NASA to reduce the risks associated with being solely dependent on a single customer. IOP is confident that KY STTR Matching support will greatly increase the chances of successfully commercializing this TEC technology.
Amount Awarded $124,901
Keywords Energy conversion, power generation, space power, thermal-to-electrical power
Point of Contact William Paxton
[email protected]
IOP Technologies
Location Louisville
Jefferson County