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Nicole Pfiester1 Dante DeMeo1 John Chivers1 Thomas Vandervelde1

1, Tufts Univ, Medford, Massachusetts, United States

The vast majority of power generation in our country today is produced through the same process as it was in the late-1800s: heat is applied to water to generate steam, which turns a turbine, which turns a generator, generating electrical power. In out lab, we are developing a solid-state power generation process that is more befitting the 21st-century. Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) cells directly convert radiated thermal energy into electrical power, through a process similar to how the more familiar photovoltaics work. TPV generators, however, include more “host-machinery” that solar cells do not incorporate. These components, selective-emitters and filters, shape the way the radiated heat is transferred into the TPV cell for conversion and are critical for its efficiency. Here, we will discuss the work we are performing to improve each of the components in these systems, which will enable TPV generators to be used with nearly any thermal source for both primary power generation and waste heat harvesting.

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