Review of Micropower Devices & Efficiency Improvements

Chuan, Chia Loy (2006). Review of Micropower Devices & Efficiency Improvements B.Sc Thesis, School of Engineering, The University of Queensland.

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Author Chuan, Chia Loy
Thesis Title Review of Micropower Devices & Efficiency Improvements
School, Centre or Institute School of Engineering
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2006
Thesis type B.Sc Thesis
Supervisor Bo Feng
Total pages 64
Language eng
Subjects 0913 Mechanical Engineering
Formatted abstract
A detailed review is carried out on the current micropower technology. In particular, a prototype micropower device based on the concept of thermophotovoltaic (TPV) system of generating electricity is being reviewed for improvement in this thesis. This prototype micro- TPV power generator [7] is currently under research and development by the National University of Singapore (NUS). It has captured a lot of attention due to the recent renewed interest in micro-TPV generation of electricity. Focus is given on the possible improvements to the micro-TPV power device, in particularly the efficiency of the micro-combustor, PV cells, and consequently the overall efficiency.

Assumptions and calculations were made to predict possible higher efficiencies based on various changes made to the device such as replacing the materials of the emitter and PV cells, altering the physical dimensions, as well as introducing a catalytic combustion. It was observed that the electrical power output and efficiency of the micro-TPV system with GaInAsSb cells are about 1.5 times that with GaSb cells (when SiC is being used as the material for the emitter). However, when the emitter is made of Co/Ni-doped MgO materials (with GaSb PV cells), both the electrical power output and efficiency of the system are much higher. Likewise, when a thin film of platinum is deposited on the inner surface of the micro- SiC combustor to act as a catalyst, both the electrical power output and efficiency of the system also improved significantly. These results have indicated that the choice of materials for the emitter is very significant in improving the performance of micro-TPV systems, as compared to the material for PV cells. Therefore, priority should be given to the choice of materials for the emitter (wall of micro-combustor) in the design and construction of a micro- TPV power device. The most suitable material for the emitter will significantly enhance the electrical power output of the device, and consequently produce a higher overall efficiency.

The highest predicted electrical power output is 5.5W with an overall efficiency of 3.92%. In the configuration, the SiC emitter is replaced with a thermally excited Co/Ni-doped MgO matched emitter, and the length of the micro-combustor was increased from 16mm to 22mm (to give an emissive surface area of 2.62cm2). GaSb PV cells were being used.
Keyword Micropower device
Efficiency improvement

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (non-RHD) - UQ staff and students only
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Created: Tue, 14 Oct 2014, 16:08:04 EST by Ahmed Taha Siddiqui on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service