A High Efficiency Micro-Thermophotovoltaic Generator System

Problem: -Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) systems generally exhibit extremely low power conversion efficiencies — on the order of 1% or less — mostly due to thermal emission of undesirable mid-wavelength infrared photons. -The design of photonic crystals which have the potential to strongly suppress these losses is complex and generally present a non-convex design optimization problem. Technology: Solving the above problems requires efficient objective function evaluation as well as efficient global optimization algorithms. In this invention, both requirements are met in order to design two new systems: micro-TPV generators and solar thermal TPV systems. A power electronics architecture is also demonstrated which is suitable for TPV power generation. Low-power sensing techniques is incorporated and high power conversion efficiency and small size is achieved. A tracking efficiency above 99% is demonstrated. This invention also demonstrates a micro-TPV system generating 150 mW with the MPPT converter. Christopher Noble crn@mit.edu

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