From MIT News: A new heat engine with no moving parts is as efficient as a steam turbine/ by Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office
The design could someday enable a fully decarbonized power grid, researchers say.
A thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cell (size 1 cm x 1 cm) mounted on a heat sink designed to measure the TPV cell efficiency. To measure the efficiency, the cell is exposed to an emitter and simultaneous measurements of electric power and heat flow through the device are taken. Image: Felice Frankel
Engineers at MIT and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have designed a heat engine with no moving parts. Their new demonstrations show that it converts heat to electricity with over 40 percent efficiency — a performance better than that of traditional steam turbines.
The heat engine is a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cell, similar to a
solar panel’s photovoltaic cells, that passively captures high-energy
photons from a white-hot heat source and converts them into electricity.
The team’s design can generate electricity from a heat source of
between 1,900 to 2,400 degrees Celsius, or up to about 4,300 degrees
The researchers plan to incorporate the TPV cell into a grid-scale
thermal battery. The system would absorb excess energy from renewable
sources such as the sun and store that energy in heavily insulated banks
of hot graphite. When the energy is needed, such as on overcast days,
TPV cells would convert the heat into electricity, and dispatch the
energy to a power grid...
Full story: https://news.mit.edu/2022/thermal-heat-engine-0413