Direct Energy Conversion

Authored by: Mysore L. Ramalingam , Jean-Pierre Fleurial , George Nolas

Energy Conversion

Print publication date:  June  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466584822
eBook ISBN: 9781315374192
Adobe ISBN:


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Thermionic energy conversion (TEC) is the process of converting heat directly to useful electrical work by the phenomenon of thermionic electron emission. This fundamental concept can be applied to a cylindrical version of the planar converter, considered the building block for space nuclear power systems (SNPS) at any power level. Space nuclear reactors based on TEC can produce power in the range of 5 kWe–5 MWe, a spectrum that serves the needs of current users such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), United States Air Force (USAF), United States Department of Energy (USDOE), and Ballistic Missile Defense Organization (BMDO). Electrical power in this range is currently being considered for commercial telecommunication satellites, navigation, propulsion, and planetary exploration missions.

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