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Production Method Of Electrical Energy by Enhanced Thermal Electron Emission by the Use of  Superior Semiconductors

Production Method Of Electrical Energy by Enhanced Thermal Electron Emission by the Use of Superior Semiconductors

Objective

The project aims to develop, validate and implement a novel solid-state conversion mechanism able to transform concentrated solar radiation into electric energy, at very high efficiency, with a direct conversion obtained by an enhanced electron emission from advanced semiconductor structures. Its application is in high-flux concentrating solar systems, characterized by presently mature optical technology, reduced request for active components, high cost-effectiveness.
The energy conversion exploits the high radiation flux, provided by solar concentrators, by combining an efficient thermionic emission to an enhanced photo-electron emission from a cathode structure, obtained by tailoring the physical properties of advanced semiconductors able to work at temperatures as high as 1000 °C. The high operating temperatures are also connected to the possibility to exploit the residual thermal energy into electric energy by thermo-mechanical conversion.
ProME3ThE2US2 will develop a proof-of-concept converter working under vacuum conditions, composed of an absorber able to employ the solar infrared (IR) radiation to provide a temperature increase, a semiconductor cathode properly deposited on it, and a work-function-matched anode, separated from the cathode by an inter-electrode spacing. The concept novelty bases on (1) use of both bandgap and over-bandgap energy to generate electrical current; (2) additional use of sub-bandgap IR radiation, with a spectral energy not able to excite photo-emitters, for augmenting the thermionic emission from cathode, (3) engineered semiconductors, able to emit electrons at lower temperatures than standard refractory metals; (4) experimentation of a hetero-structured cathode for emission enhancement by an internal field; (5) recovery of exhaust heat from the anode by thermo-mechanical conversion. It is estimated that the proposed technology could achieve a conversion efficiency of 45% if used under high-flux irradiation conditions (~1000 suns).

Coordinator

CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE

Address

Piazzale Aldo Moro 7
00185 Roma

Italy

Activity type

Research Organisations

EU Contribution

€ 778 783,25

Administrative Contact

Daniele Maria Trucchi (Dr.)

Participants (7)

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TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY

Israel

EU Contribution

€ 469 768

TECHNION - ISRAEL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

Israel

EU Contribution

€ 472 642

FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V.

Germany

EU Contribution

€ 460 272

Ionvac Process Srl

Italy

EU Contribution

€ 317 760

EXERGY LTD

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 175 216

SOLARIS PHOTONICS LTD

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 61 440

ABENGOA RESEARCH SL

Spain

EU Contribution

€ 241 677,23

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 308975

Status

Closed project

  • Start date

    1 May 2013

  • End date

    30 April 2016

Funded under:

FP7-ENERGY

  • Overall budget:

    € 4 081 855,84

  • EU contribution

    € 2 977 558,48

Coordinated by:

CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE

Italy